Its a case of too little too late, say organisers of the Evans Head Great Eastern Fly-In, who confirmed this years event will not go ahead despite the announcement of $5000 worth of assistance from Richmond Valley Council and the Ballina Ex-Services Home for the next three years.
The event attracted 150 planes last year and an estimated 4000 people, but organisers say Council landing fees and charges and other onerous conditions made the event unfeasible.
Council charged no landing fees last year, however, this year it indicated fees of $100 per plane and $310 per vintage plane would apply.
In a media release issued last week Richmond Valley Council indicated it would contribute $2500 for the next three years to offset fees and charges. The Ballina Ex Services Home, which is behind a proposed nursing home for the aerodrome site, has now offered to match Councils offer.
Council general manager Brian Wilkinson said the recommendation to provide financial support would go before next weeks Council meeting and would hopefully give organisers the chance to reconsider the cancellation.But
Richard Gates from the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee dismissed the proposal as helping us out of the problem Council created.
He also said it was a remarkable coincidence that the Ballina Ex-Services Home was currently in preliminary talks with the Heritage Office regarding the proposed nursing home development.
He accused Council of playing out the issue in the media, saying the committee was not contacted.
Its interesting that neither of the parties have approached us, and were the organisers, he said. It is too little too late for this year. Sadly, the Great Eastern is off. In the meantime we wait to see what Council is prepared to offer for next year.
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