Opposition minister says airport is a huge asset for the community

RELATED CONTENT: Cobden airport is an integral asset to the shire

THE shadow minister for aviation says all work done by the Cobden community will be wasted if a proposed wind farm goes ahead.

Gordon Rich-Phillips said the airstrip was an asset which the community had invested heavily through fundraising over many years and all their work would be jeopardised.

CONCERNED: Corangamite Cr Neil Trotter and Cobden Aero Club airport reporting officer Warren Ponting are working together with the Aero Club committee to secure a grant to redevelop the areodrome. Picture: Rob Gunston

CONCERNED: Corangamite Cr Neil Trotter and Cobden Aero Club airport reporting officer Warren Ponting are working together with the Aero Club committee to secure a grant to redevelop the areodrome. Picture: Rob Gunston

Mr Rich-Phillips will visit the airstrip on Saturday with Polwarth MP Richard Riordan. The visit will coincide with a community day at the airstrip with the Airport Committee urging the state government to reject the proposal.

Mr Rich-Phillips said the community needed to send a strong message that the wind farm would have a substantially negative effect on Cobden and the region.

The project has been on the drawing board for more than a decade and was taken over by Alinta Energy earlier this year. The energy giant plans to build 12 turbines measuring 180 metres and costing up to $100 million.

The turbines would be about 2.5kms from the runway.

Airport reporting officer and committee member Warren Ponting said the community had shown a great amount of support for the asset. He said he had no doubt that if the proposal was approved the airport would close.

“I’m the safety officer and I wouldn’t let a plane land if there were wind turbines there. Because then it would be on me.”

He said the committee was not against the wind farm but at least four turbines needed to be moved if the airstrip was going to continue. He said the airstrip was used by the air ambulance, fire bombing aircraft, commercial activity, tourists flying in to visit the Twelve Apostles and agricultural operators.

The Planning Minister previously said he would look into the potential impacts of the proposal. “The protection of significant assets such as an airport are very critical in country Victoria, and I am very aware of their importance, particularly in relation to medical evacuations and so forth,” Mr Wynne said in Parliament.

The Save Our Strip event will be held on Saturday at noon. There will be planes on display and barbecue will be provided. Entry is by gold coin donation.