Colac airfield struggling with demand

Colac Airfield users John Callahan, left, and airfield committee of management chairman Stephen Robertson are calling for an upgrade to the airfield.

COLAC Airfield users are concerned the facility is unable to cope with increasing demand.

Airfield committee of management chairman Stephen Robertson said the airfield had demand from emergency services and private aircraft.

“There has been concern for a few years that the aerodrome is not capable of supporting emergency services such as the ambulance,” he said.

The impending closure of Grovedale Airport south-west of Geelong has also increased interest from people wanting to park light aircraft at Irrewarra.

Former Colac Aero Club president John Callahan said the Irrewarra airfield was on a donated piece of land, and it had “virtually stayed the same for the last 20 years”.

The runway is 960 metres long and gravel, and airfield users want it sealed and extended to 1200 metres to suit more aircraft.

Mr Callahan said the airfield would be eligible for Federal Government funding if the runway was 1200 metres.

The air ambulance, Country Fire Authority, Department of Sustainability and Environment, as well as visiting doctors, trainee pilots and people attending cattle sales use the airfield.

Ambulance Victoria spokesman James Howe said fixed-wing aircraft used the airfield during the day to transport patients to Melbourne hospitals.

“If the width and length was extended it would allow us to use the airfield for night operations, but we don’t imagine it would significantly increase our use of the airfield,” he said.

Country Fire Authority district six operations officer Brian Brady said the airfield was adequate for their purpose of flying firefighters to fires, but would support an upgrade.

“We’ve used it to fly crews in and out, and we’ve never had a problem with it,” he said.

The Department of Sustainability and Environment’s district land and fire manager Andrew Morrow said the DSE was responsible for the aircraft based in Colac for the fire season.

“If there’s an upgrade that’s potentially being considered, we’d be supportive of an upgrade,” he said.

Mr Callahan said the Colac Aero Club was developing a business plan for development of the airfield.

“So we can work out the best way to operate the facility,” he said.

“We’ve got enough money to do what needs to be done, but the reason we’re doing the business plan is to justify an upgrade.”

Comments are closed.