Community engagement for Kempsey Airport to be increased

Media release - 23 February 2018

Two business papers presented at this week’s Council meeting reviewed the operations and management approach for the Kempsey Airport.

Councillors voted to amend the development assessment processes for any future variations of the Development Consent that is currently in place for the facility.

Council will ensure that recommendations on any variations to the existing Airport DA come back to Council for decision and not be determined by staff. This will mean any decisions about changes to the DA will be made in the public arena.

Council also added steps to address the perception of openness and transparency, recognising the significant community interest in this issue. Any proposed amendments to the currently approved DA will be notified to all persons who have previously made submissions to Council on aircraft noise or the as yet undetermined 2017 DA for expansion of the pilot training facility.

Mayor Liz Campbell believes formalising this level of engagement demonstrates Council’s acknowledgement of the opportunity to improve processes.

“Councillors recognise that with any proposed changes to the current Development Application at the Airport it is not appropriate to just follow the legislative requirement of notifying immediate neighbours.

“We agreed unanimously that where people have taken the time to make submissions to Council about the Airport, we need to actively make them aware of any proposed changes to operations,” said Cr Campbell.

In a further measure to increase community interactions and engagement about management of the Airport, Council have endorsed the appointment of four community members to a Kempsey Airport Reference Group (KARG).

In April 2017 Council agreed on a process for preparing a Noise Management Plan (NMP) to underpin a Fly Neighbourly Agreement (FNA) which will guide the conditions of use for all Airport users.

The objective of the KARG is to provide assistance and a dedicated mechanism of community interaction in the development of these important documents for ongoing management of the Airport.