Upper Mountains residents meeting rejects commercialisation of Katoomba Airfield

Residents expressed concerns about the commercialisation of Katoomba Airfield at a community meeting at Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre on February 12.

A section of the crowd

A section of the crowd

Run by the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, the meeting offered up information on the proposed commercial lease at the airfield in Medlow Bath.

Society president Madi Maclean said it was a full house with 70 people.

"The vast majority … overwhelmingly supported the continued use of the airfield for emergency and bushfire purposes, but managed by National Parks as part of the national park,” she said.

Katoomba Airfield is on crown land, managed by the NSW government through the Department of Industry. A temporary licence has been issued and a long-term commercial lease is being considered for the new licensees.

Ms Maclean said no community consultation was undertaken by the department prior to the temporary license being issued which ignored "twenty years of community involvement ... as well as previous government recommendations".

Resident Stephen Cannings who lives near the airfield has concerns.

“It is likely we will have helicopters flying as low as 1000 feet over houses and 500 feet over bushland within a 5.5km radius of the strip. It will disturb so many. Katoomba Airfield … should be used by emergency service and not be a profit mechanism for a few."

Some aviation supporters contradicted the details presented. The licensees have said they will be diverting flight paths away from houses.

Ms Maclean said Medlow Bath, Katoomba and Blackheath residents and the Society would start a concerted campaign against the issue.

  • See Letters p26