Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Once one the verge of collapse, now Tenterfield Aerodrome is heading for an upgrade, thanks to a financial boost of $276,000, and timing couldn’t be more imperative.

“This funding is critical for the community because this will mean we can get the aerodrome ready to support intensive firefighting operations.” said Robert Evans, President of Friends of Tenterfield Aerodrome (FOTA).

The local facility secured $199,927 from the NSW Government’s Clubgrants programs for disaster readiness infrastructure, as well as receiving $76,000 from community support contributing to the Aerodrome thriving future.

“The money will be spent on hardstand for helicopter operations and on taxiways for fixed wing fire bombers.” said Robert.

“It will allow more aircraft for a really rapid response time to fires close to Tenterfield, and it also means aeromedical helicopters will have more frequent use of the aerodrome as an alternative to landing in the sports ground in town.”

The recent destructive fires that swept through the region confirmed the need for upgrades.

Specifically, this project will provide:

  1. Concrete hardstand for helicopter operations
  2. Sealed taxiways
  3. Standalone solar power with backup generator and apron lighting
  4. Fuel availability.

“This project will result in a significantly increased ability to save lives, property, livestock, infrastructure, and native plants and animals threatened by bushfires in the Tenterfield region.” Said Robert.

“In the October/November fires we had up to seven helicopters and three fixed wing aircraft going, with this we could increase the number of fixed wing aircraft quite dramatically and we can get extra supply points for filling them with water.”

FOTA would like to extend their gratitude to the local community for their support and for allowing Tenterfield to remain proactive in their fire defence plan.

“I would like to thank the community and in particular, there are people who have contributed, and committed to contributing, who have added to the grant with the extra $76,000.” said Robert.

The Tenterfield Aerodrome is situation in an area prone to bushfires, and without a local facility the nearest airport is Glen Innes, 22 minutes flying time away.

In the thick of a fire, 22 minutes can be a very long time.

“By operating from Tenterfield when fires are close to here, we can get four or fives times the amount of water on to the fire than if we were operating aircraft from other centre like Glen Innes or Casino.”

NSW Government Club Grants

Tenterfield is one of thirty-five communities to share $6.1 million in funding under the latest round of the NSW Government’s Clubgrants Category 3 Infrastructure Grants Program.

“The Infrastructure Grants program is all about supporting projects that improve community connectedness in the arts and sport, provide new or improved facilities for local sporting groups or deliver innovative local solutions in emergency preparedness.” said Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris.

Two grant rounds are offered each year under Category 3, with 2023-24 funding for this category committed prior to the decision to review the broader Clubgrants program.

Applications for the next round are now open and close 18 December 2023.

To find out more or to apply visit the Clubgrants website.