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Evans Head Fly-In cancelled . . !


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Noted this news just released re The Great Eastern Fly-In at Evans Head, northern NSW...


"The Northern Rivers Echo Newspaper (Online version)


Issue 35, Volume 12, Thursday, 31 August 2006


Council cops flak for Fly In cancellation


Happier times: Great Eastern Fly In co-ordinator Gai Taylor after enjoying a flight in Ed Field’s World War II era Mustang at last year’s event. The Great Eastern Fly In has been cancelled.




Organisers of the Evans Head Great Eastern Fly In say they have been forced to cancel this year’s event because Richmond Valley Council is making it too hard by imposing fees and charges and forcing pilots to camp on “a wastelandâ€Â.




Co-ordinator Gai Taylor said the New Year’s event attracted 150 planes last year and an estimated 4000 people. She said she was “deeply disappointed†it had been called off.




“We’re all volunteers and we don’t make any money. We’re not playing grand-standing games,†she said. “It’s just too bloody hard to keep bashing our heads against a brick wall.â€Â


She said Council’s rationale behind charging $100 per plane in landing fees and $310 for vintage planes was that the fees and charges were in the Council’s plan of management.




However, that was also the case last year, and no fees were imposed.


“No-one will come,†she said. “No one will pay $100 for the day, let alone $310 for the warbirds. It already costs those people a bomb to bring those planes. Some of them go through 300 litres of fuel an hour. Nobody who does joy flights in a warbird makes money. They just cover their costs.â€Â


To add to her frustration Council expected the Great Eastern Fly In to collect all the money on their behalf in addition to paying $400 per day to hire the aerodrome.




She said no other Fly In event in Australia was charged by their local councils in this way, and in fact they usually provided free services like garbage removal.




The poor condition of the camping area was an equal reason for pulling the plug on the event, she said.




In previous years pilots had either camped under the wings of their planes for security reasons or very close by under small bushy trees. This year she said Council expected them to camp on a cleared patch of land near the industrial estate, 100m away from the planes and with no shade. They would also have to pay $30 per night.




“Pilots would take one look at it and get into their planes and go,†she said. “There’s no way I would camp there. There’s bits of pipes and broken brick and if there’s any wind there will be sand blowing about.â€Â




Richmond Valley Council general manager Brian Wilkinson said he was “very disappointed†the Great Eastern Fly In had made its decision without discussing it with Council.




He said Council wanted to take a co-operative approach and work with the event.




After being told of the fees and charges, Council had invited organisers to put in a submission on the matter. This was to be included in a report to Council at its September meeting. He said one possible way forward was for Council to cover the fees and charges in the hope that in time the event could pay for them itself.




Gai said with no consistent Council policy or support for the Fly In there was just too much uncertainty so close to the event."


Aviation, be it recreational, general aviation or sport IS UNDER SERIOUS THREAT.. of being pushed over the edge into the dark ages. . ! :black_eye:



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Seems like the Council are more interested in discouraging the Airfield use.


The privatisation of Airfields in this country has been a big success, for the Federal Government (they don't have to maintain them) and developers (buy em cheap, make things impossible for users then split them up and sell them).



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Are we going to just sit on our hands or register our disappointment and disgust with the Council's attitude to recreational visitors and aviators to the Evans Head area? From what is reported, their greed and disdain for the aviation community is outrageous and completely introverted. We know from earlier reports that the Council's agenda is to close down aviation activity at Evans Head in order to provide prime building development and to allow the erection of a retirement village complex just off the end of rwy 18. It's not as if the airfield lies dormant, each time I've dropped in there has been plenty of flying in progress.


Let's make our support of our Evans Head friends known.


I'm not sure if this is the best way to go about it but my suggestion is to email the mayorvia the address below. Perhaps, we should also putink to paper and send off letters, just in case emails are conveniently lost in the system.


Let's showthat this forum and its members has some clout.


[email protected]


POSTAL: Locked Bag 10, Casino. 2470


List of Councillors


1.Councillors: Charlie Cox (Mayor)


2.Councillors: Sandra Humphrys (Deputy Mayor)


3.Councillors: Ray Jeffery


4.Councillors: Peter McLennan


5.Councillors: Robert Mustow


6.Councillors: Col Sullivan


7.Councillors: Norma Thomas


8.Councillors: Shirley Wheatley


9.Councillors: Norma Wise



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At Turtle's suggestion I have composedthe followingletter that may be used to help support the guys and gals at Evans Head. I will be mailing my copies away this coming Monday. If youcan find the few minutes it will take tocontribute to this cause, Istrongly suggest, for the sake of impact, that you use my wording as a guide only ... compose your own words/format so that the receivers don't simply disregard your effort as just circularised proforma letters. Keep it direct and respectful. Write to each Councilor for maximum coverage.


Pass this around your local aero clubs andothers that are supportive of aviation. Encourage them to join in with their support for the Evans Head clubs. This is not difficult or time consuming. "I fear not the voice ofmy enemy,my fearis the silence ofmy friends".


Come on everyone, let's stand up and be noticed. Hopefully our leaders at RA-Aus are with us on this too.


NOTES: 1. Councilor's names are on earlier post - insert the correctname for each of your letters.


2. Alter the I/we and my/our alternatives to suit your letter.


3. Be sure to head your letter with your (or your organsiation's) contact name and address details.






<DIV align=center>- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -






Mr/Ms (councilor's name),


Richmond Valley Council


Locked Bag 10




Dear Sir/Madam,


Subject: Evans Head Great Eastern Fly-In


It has come to my/our notice that the above event at the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome has been cancelled by the organising committee.


From information received it is understood that this has become necessary due to the extreme charges and other difficulties imposedby your council.


With respect, I/we wish to register my/ourdisappointment over the demise of what has been a very popular and successful aviation event.


It appears that your Council has lost the tourism plot. This event has been an attraction for many aviators of light aircraft and observers alike. In the past this has brought into the Evans Head region thousands of visitors. An obvious spin off from this influx of visitors has been the support for local business operators. What may not be so obvious to you is that many of these visitors return to the area on other occasions throughout the year to re-visit the aerodrome and the local clubs to rekindle acquaintances and experiences.


Shouldthe event have continued it carried with it the potential for ever increasing public interest and visitor numbers, a very real attractionto the area and boostfor the local economy. One only needs to consider the increasing success and growth of the Natfly event held each Easter at Narromine to visualise the potential of the Great Eastern Fly-In. The Natfly is eagerly anticipated each year, draws hundreds of aircraft, thousands of visitors and many tourism dollars. Understandably, the Narromine Shire Council supports, sponsors and encourages the event organisers enthusiastically every year.


Particularly disappointing is the apparent disinterest the Council has for the aviation community, especially the local aero clubs and associated members. These organisations, having demonstrated an enthusiasm rarely seen these days,deserve your whole hearted support and encouragement. Not onlyhave they beenproviding a wonderful venue and event on the aviation calendar, they have been engendering support for your local community.


Further, the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome is steeped in history. Surely it is your responsibility as the local authority to ensure this history is not lost but rather nurtured.


Please, give yourserious consideration to standing with the event organisers by exploring ways and means to reinstate this great event. It can happen without high impact charges and impositions. It is not outside Council's interests to make it a welcoming event for aviators,visitingpublic and the local community alike.


Respectfully yours,



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my letter is on its way..


sadly why cant councills see the merits in converting their free


aerodromes (after the fed govt handed them all back to the local




into Air parks, they have the developers on side to build and


sell the properties, the coucills still collect the rates from these


properties, and the airport remains to serve the community.



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Thanks for the support Rob ;)0.gif.


The strange thing about the Evans Head site is, the Council is making moves to sell it off for housing development, yet their sewer infrastructure is inadequate for the existing population. In fact, as a temporary measure in an attempt to save the local wetlands being further polluted by run-off, they have plans in place to pump the waste onto the airfield.Now there's a good use for an airstrip smiley7.gif.



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As an update to the cancelation this is from the committe organising the Great Fly-In....


"Hi Everyone,


It is with great regret and sadness that the Great Eastern Fly-In Committee, a sub committee of the Evans Head Memorial


Aerodrome Committtee, has decided to cancel this year's Great Eastern. We have reached an untenable situation with the Council over a number of issues, as follows:


1. The fees and charges as passed in the council Plan of Management, June 2006, proposed that each aircraft be charged $100 to land and be there, $310 for warbirds and $200 for commercial aircraft. As well the organisers would have to pay $400 per day for the hire of the Aerodrome, that is for us $1600.


2. The camping would be only in the sandy wasteland east of the amenities block, no underwing or in the shady bush areas allowed and the ranger would enforce this. Fees for this would be $30 for first person and $10 for extra people.


3. All fees would have to be collected by us.


4. All infrastructure to be paid for by us - eg garbage bins and collection, amenities cleaning etc


5. All infrastructure for the camping - porta loos we would have to pay for - about $900.


We have till now paid for this with the camping fees.


Council has based all this on the PoM for the Aerodrome and the PoM for the LGA. As yet, we believe that the PoM for the Aerodrome is not final. We attended a meeting on the 14th August at which we presented our views about all this and were met with the response that bascially all decisions were being driven by the two PoMs and that was the bottom line.


They requested us to put in a response but we decided that as we had already put in a number of responses to these issues already as submissions to both Plans over the last 12 months, they knew our position, that it was not in our best interests to continue along this course as it would not be finalised for another month, leaving all in limbo.


We thought we would receive support from the Tourism rep on Council but were bitterly dissapointed with the outcome.


I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of you for all your support for the Great Eastern and as well from the Committee members and EMAC members. We, I have had a really great time over the last two years, lots of hard work, fun, tears and excitement and best of all, all of you arriving for a great four days. It has been an extraordinary experience, one I hope will happen again in the future.




What next? If you want to respond to this, let the Council and us know what you think.




I'll keep you posted and as always,




Happy and joyous flying and I'm really looking forward to seeing you at other aviation events.




Kind Regards





PS Send any mail to me at [email protected]"


I believe a earnest and firm response should be forth coming of all the aviation peak bodies who have members who use the airfield in both lobbying the council, the state and federal members who cover that area and the minister representing aviation.


We, alone as individual aviators can not do a great deal if we do not live with-in the council’s area other than show moral support.


If though any of us do use the airfield, then strong concern should be voiced but as I said earlier, this appears to be a far wider concern to General Aviation and Recreational Aviation as noted in the current issue of the monthly Australian Flying aviation magazine.


Yours in recreational aviation,





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I reckon if the event is to continue, and let's keep pushing for it, it will need to be at a venue big enough to cater for quite a crowd. The EMAC report last year's attendance at more than 150 a/c and around 4000 persons, with most driving in. And one would expect the event to keep growing each year.


Whatever may come, for now we should be putting all our energies behind the Evans Head flyers until all possibilities are exhausted. After all, it's their event, they worked their butts off to get the event on the calendar and they own it.


Of course,considering alternatives in case of total failureis not out of order, but let's make sure they have no doubt we are with them to the death.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Very interesting smiley3.gif.


I have only just put the phone down afer receiving a call from Councilor Ray Jeffery of Richmond Valley Council (RVC)as a result of submitting my letter of concern over the council's attitude to the Great Eastern Fly-In. Didn't expect that.


Anyway, it seems that RVC ...


1. Supports aviation


2. Has no intention of shutting down the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome


3. Is looking favourably at three private proposals to develop an Air Park complex at Evans Head


4. Have no idea what is a reasonable landing fee charge. He was surprised to learn that the majority of recreational airfields charge anything from zip to $25. He thought their proposed$100 landingfee was the order of the day. Pity they didn't do some simple research.


Has anyone else received any calls as a result of their correspondence?





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