WYONG Shire Council is secretly planning to spend $60 million for an aviation hub at Warnervale airstrip based on an American company’s proposal to build amphibious aircraft on the site.
Amphibian Aircraft International president Khoa T. Hoang said he was ‘‘very excited about ‘Operation Amphibian’ and what it means for our company, the constituents of Wyong and Australian aviation in general’’ in an email to the Newcastle Herald.
His company had discussed building the Albatross amphibious aircraft at Warnervale with Wyong Council but he declined to give more detail.
In September councillors were advised a Warnervale airstrip upgrade, with the $1.3million cost not made public until it was revealed in the Newcastle Herald, meant the council could explore ‘‘commercial general aviation development opportunities’’.
‘‘General aviation comprises aircraft charter, emergency services operations including Rural Fire Service water bombers, helicopter operations, commercial flying colleges and aircraft,’’ councillors were told.
In a confidential report on Wednesday councillors were told the council had signed a ‘‘heads of agreement’’ with Amphibian Aircraft International to lease three hectares of the Warnervale site.
It had plans to extend the runway to up to 1700 metres for development of the site as a regional airport.
The council could seek to have the Warnervale Restriction Act repealed, the report said.
The act was passed in 1996 to restrict operations on the site after community protests.