A former Goulburn Mayor wants to recapture the glory days of the city’s airport and see it fly “again”.
Tony Lamarra and wife, Adrianna have hatched plans for an aeropark on 80 acres of land they own surrounding Goulburn airport.
Preliminary investigations are underway into the ‘Goulburn Aero Club Aeropark,’ with talks soon to be held with the council and air safety authorities.
Mr Lamarra, a pilot since the 1950s, said he was partly motivated by airport owner, John Ferrara’s recent move to charge access fees to hangar owners at the airport. But it’s not the main reason.
“We’re very dedicated to the flying industry and we also want to give something back to the people who have supported us all our lives,” he said.
“...We are hoping to bring back a lot of customers to Goulburn who have avoided us for one reason or another.”
Mr Lamarra envisions two landing strips, 1km and 700 metres in length, and leasing land at “minimum charge” to 10 to 12 people wishing to build hangars on his land. There would be a clubhouse for users to refresh and make a ‘cuppa.’ The Lamarras have unofficially extended this hospitality at their own hangars since the late 1980s.
There will be no landing and access fees at the aeropark and no parachute operations. Users could come and go as they pleased, he said. Mr Lamarra is also proposing the occasional air show.
The land has a 700 to 800 metre frontage to Windellama Rd and stretches back 1km.
The Lamarras already own three hangars at Goulburn airport, covering 4500 square metres of undercover spaces. For many years they’ve leased the space at low rent for up to 35 plane owners.
“Goulburn Airport was one of the best in the country with 8000 to 9000 landings a year, which brought up to $2 million into the local economy,” Mr Lamarra said.
“The airport was always heavily used by by politicians flying in, the Army, Navy and Air Force. Since I learnt to fly, we’ve always worked in well with the council and encouraged people to come to the airport because we saw its great value to the city.”
The former mayor doesn’t have a cost estimate at this stage and says it will partly depend on negotiations with the council and authorities on what’s possible. But he believes he can reduce the cost, given his own machinery and work input.
Once complete, Mr Lamarra is in no doubt who he’d honour in name dedications – Norm Liddle, the man who encouraged him to fly, and the late John Guthrie and Neville Smith. The latter Goulburn men pair were killed in an glider accident in January, 2007 near Gunning.
“They were both very dedicated people to Goulburn airport,” Mr Lamarra said.