State MP for Blue Mountains Trish Doyle has criticised herself for supporting the reopening of Katoomba Airfield, claiming that she is threatening the World Heritage Area with helicopter noise.
In addition, Labor ward one councillor Don McGregor has been scolded by Mayor Mark Greenhill for also campaigning for the airfield’s reopening.
In an article published by the Blue Mountains Gazette, both Ms Doyle and Cr McGregor affirmed their support for the airstrip north of Katoomba, which has proved that it is possible to land aeroplanes on the side of a mountain.
The article also outlined how the Member for the Blue Mountains blasted the state government for not doing enough to keep the airfield open.
Member for Blue Mountains, Trish Doyle, said she had been working with the Hay family for almost a year to assist them through a bureaucratic malaise within state government which had prevented them from renewing their lease.
“They are trying desperately to find a way to keep the airfield open as well as continue the airfield’s support for local community organisations – like the stargazing groups who visit at night, the Air Force Cadets and Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue who use the airfield for training exercises,” she said.
A spokesperson for the Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, wouldn’t comment directly on the matter, but said “the Member for Blue Mountains is flip-flopping harder than a windsock in a gale.”
Council split on the airfield
Cr Don McGregor, a Labor councillor calling for the airfield’s reopening, says the airfield is an incredible feat of engineering, showing that airstrips can be built on the sides of mountains.
“The airfield needs to stay, you can’t land helicopters on trees,” Cr McGregor said. “Especially when the trees are on fire. It’s very hard to land on a burning tree. Damages the paint job too.”
Pro-airfield comments from fellow Labor councillors has frustrated Mayor Mark Greenhill, who is still hoping to capture the environmentalist vote.
“The Blue Mountains Conservation Society said the airfield has to go, so it has to go,” Cr Greenhill said. “And I’m trying to get in the pants of this hippy chick, so I need this airfield shut down. I’ll have words with Don and Trish.”