Have your say on Katoomba Airfield

Residents have until August 4 to make a submission on the proposed lease at the Katoomba Airfield in Medlow Bath.

And the matter will also be debated in the NSW parliament on August 1, after a petition of more than 12,000 signatures was handed to Blue Mountains MP, Trish Doyle.

Katoomba Airfield opponents presented the 12,000-strong petition to Trish Doyle in May. It will be debated in state parliament on August 1.

Katoomba Airfield opponents presented the 12,000-strong petition to Trish Doyle in May. It will be debated in state parliament on August 1.

The Katoomba Airfield Community Group has put out the call for volunteers to help distribute flyers in letterboxes from Springwood to Mt Victoria. The group is concerned that any long-term lease may have an adverse effect on the World Heritage Area surrounding the airfield.

The department of industry (crown lands) last year granted an interim lease to Derek and Floyd Larsen to manage and operate the site after an expression of interest process.

The Larsens have now put forward a proposal to support their application for a 50-year lease, planning to operate a commercial airfield.

The department held a series of public consultation sessions in Katoomba last month but some participants complained that key questions - in particular the number of flights per day being proposed - remained unanswered.

Dennis Buttigieg, director of commercial services for the department and project manager for the lease application, said more than 300 people attended the sessions. He assured the public that the department had formed no view about whether the lease proposal should proceed.

"We are required by the act to ensure that community and stakeholder views are fully considered and understood before any decisions on the proposed airfield lease are made."

He ruled out any approval for short duration joy flights into or out of the airfield.

Mr Buttigieg added: "If a new lease is granted, it would also require the development of built-in safeguards to ensure land and environmental management."

The Larsens, on their flyblue.com.au website, have said they would adopt a "fly neighbourly" policy to minimise noise impacts. They have also undertaken to dedicate 50 per cent of the airfield to non-aviation use, including bushwalking, radio club, star gazers and RAAF cadet bivouacs.

And emergency services would take precedence over using the airfield at all times.

The Blue Mountains Conservation Society is opposed to granting a commercial licence and was concerned that the public was not given a chance to have a say before the interim licence was issued to the Larsens in February 2018.

President Lachlan Garland said: "The society strongly believes that this public land should be returned to the surrounding national park."

"Adding the land to park has been the consistent recommendation of many previous government reports and it is in the best interests of the people of NSW and for the integrity of the Blue Mountains," Mr Garland said.

The department has posted an online submission form which many criticised as being irrelevant to the airfield. The second question asks people to say "how often you use and enjoy the site".

Phillip Gattenhof, from Katoomba, said when he read that question, "I thought, now let's see, when was the last time I had a picnic in the middle of a dirt runway on an airfield I cannot legally access?"

He believed the department posted a standard community consultation template rather than one which addressed the specifics of the airfield.

People making a submission do not have to use the form but can instead email airfield.submissions@crownland.nsw.gov.au.