The Lismore City Council has voted not to pursue the sale or lease of Lismore airport.
The council had pursued the idea of selling or leasing the airport after being approached by a Western Australian company in June.
According to reports at the time, the company was offering around $20 million for the airport, which prompted the council to call for expressions of interest from other parties.
But only two submissions were received, and they were ‘disappointing’, according to mayor Jenny Dowell.
‘We spent a considerable amount of staff time on this but the good side is that at least we’re now better placed into the future with information about the airport,’ she said.
The report to council said neither of the submissions had complied with council’s requests for information.
‘JJ Ryan submitted a non-conforming offer and the Industries Seven proposal lacked information on key components,’ the report said.
‘Neither of the submissions went to the heart of the intentions expressed by council in the Expression of Interest documentation, nor provided sufficient information to enable council to warrant progressing to a further tender stage.’
Also, during discussions with users of the airport, concerns had been raised that selling the facility would not benefit the community.
‘Discussions were held with REX airlines, the rescue helicopter service, existing hangar owners, re-fuelling operators and other onsite businesses, NSW Rural Fire Service and the Aero Club,’ the report said.
‘There were considerable concerns about future access to the airport, landing cost increases under private ownership, loss of business and loss of community assets.’
Cr Dowell said last night’s decision to put the sale of the airport on the back burner did not mean that the issue could not be revisited in the future.
But for now, apart from scheduled maintenance, it will be business as usual at the airport.