Glider strip fails to take off
FUNDING applications for a $150k glider strip at the Warwick Aerodrome have been knocked back, but users say there is no need for an expensive upgrade.
Southern Downs Regional Council is looking into alternatives to fund the project, after aviation regulatory body CASA issued a non-compliance notice requiring the construction of a designated glider strip.
SDRC community services and major projects manager Michael Bell said the current plan for the glider strip would involve a modification of the existing bitumen runway strip.
"The current gliding operations as they stand might have been happening for many, many years but they don't actually operate from an existing gliding strip at the moment,” Mr Bell said.
But Warwick Gliding Club president Ivor Harris said a new glider strip was expensive and unnecessary.
He believed the area currently used by gliders should become the official designated gliding strip.
"None of the aerodrome users see a need to take off from a different location to what we are now,” Mr Harris said.
"We're perfectly happy to keep using the same grass strip that we have been using safely for the past 60 years.”
Mr Harris said the current area could be approved as the official designated glider strip, at little to no cost.
"All we need is a letter from council and some markers and it could be in place tomorrow,” he said.
The construction of a glider strip on the southern side of the existing bitumen runway would require expensive earthworks to level out the ground.
"We've got to look at ground, ground smoothness, roughness, the length of the runway to make sure a tug that is pulling the glider can actually get off the ground,” Mr Bell said.
The new glider strip is part of a suite of planned upgrades to the aerodrome facility. Mr Harris said council was invested in the aerodrome as a resource for the Warwick community, but was not listening to the people who actually used the facility.
"We've got no problem with a user pays philosophy, but the council is jacking up the rates,” he said.