In support of the airport masterplan

Suspended Mayor Lisa Matthews

Forum –

Lisa Matthews’ comments about the airport masterplan briefing (“Airport briefing sounded alarm bells for Matthews” Chronicle, Oct 6) just shows how naive and politically immature our elected representatives were – and remained so.

Their decision to cancel the AAI contract was taken within weeks of being elected – with no pretence of objectivity, and obviously without having read and understood the masterplan.

It was simply a knee-jerk decision by a majority who had campaigned on closing the airport, bolstered by shrill anti-airport flag-wavers.

That they were overawed by professionals in suits says it all.

The “suits” may well have expected the Councillors to be professionally savvy, after all, they were elected to run a city.

Nothing would warrant the cringing behaviour some of the Councillors displayed.

Surely some would have understood what was being presented – and it was a presentation and briefing, not, as Matthews alludes, some sort of dictated ultimatum.

To cover well-trodden ground, the masterplan in question, the Landrum and Brown “Central Coast Aviation Hub Concept Plan”, sets out a seven-stage development program.

The first five stages, to be undertaken in a stepped and viable timetable, show the development of the hub within the existing airport boundary, and with the existing runway length.

Stages six and seven are suggested stages which would take the hub to a regional airport standard, and which would require the lengthening of the runway into Porters Creek Wetland.

It must be understood that from the get-go, the entire development process would be under the control and supervision of Council.

The Hub proposal is not a state or federally directed project, and the regional airport idea was well and truly out of the question for many reasons.

The fact that stages six and seven were added has simply given ammunition to the anti-airport crowd who damn the entire masterplan for it.

Council would be able to finalise the development at any stage.

The Administrator had got the ball rolling by signing the AAI contract as a sod-turning first step and had carried out site preparation works that got the anti-airport crowd into the news on several occasions.

We deserved better from our elected representatives.

We need people with business nous, who have been at the sharp end dealing with high finance – and running a big ship, not a dinghy – people who can discuss Council business on equal terms, and objectively, with the relevant Council staff and experts.

Instead, they commissioned reviews – because they had no idea how to make decisions on serious matters.

But it is also obvious that we elect chancers, show-ponies and populists, ignoring the ones we really need to govern a city.

Email, Oct 7
Geoff Robertson, The Entrance