Fly-in won't get off ground
THE organisers of the Great Eastern Fly-in at Evans Head have axed the popular January event, citing council constraints and impossible deadlines as the cause.
In a move that has sent shock-waves through the township and the wider aviation community, fly-in coordinator Gai Taylor said the cancellation would be a huge economic loss to Evans Head which had left the organising committee "deeply disappointed".
"We've formally cancelled this year's fly-in ... for a series of reasons to do with the condition of the site, where the contractors are at, and the financial constraints placed on us," she said.
"We've also been asked to put in an access road into the parking area but, as a small not-for-profit group, we don't have the commercial backers so we just can't afford it."
A key point of contention between council and organisers involves the remediation of contaminated soil underway at the site.
While council estimates contractors will have the work completed within six weeks, "weather permitting", organisers say that isn't good enough with the event due to kick off in about eight weeks.
"The site is such a mess ... they say they'll be finished 'weather permitting', but just look at the weather," Ms Taylor said.
Following 10 days of deliberations with council staff, organisers pulled the pin on the show on Monday.
The Great Eastern Fly-In is the third biggest event in the Richmond Valley Council area after Beef Week and Primex and last year attracted about 10,000 visitors to the historic aerodrome.
Richmond Valley Council works director Gary Murphy said he was equally disappointed but hoped organisers might reconsider.
"It is a significant event and it's certainly one that council supports," he said yesterday.
"The DA for future fly-ins is still proceeding, but our intention is to get everything completed as we would have."
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