Cessnock Council will construct a new Aviation Fire Base at Cessnock Airport thanks to a cash splash from the Federal Government.
In the 2019/2020 bushfire season the airport played an important role in the firefighting effort with the NSW Rural Fire Service operating the AT-802 Air Tractor and helicopter water bombers from the base.
Upgrades will now be able to be done to the airport to better support aerial firefighting operations in the future thanks to a $1,651,260 grant under the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program.
The works will include the construction of a taxiway to the water bomber apron, the construction of a 5700 sqm water bomber apron with lighting, the connection of the water main to the water holding tanks, the installation of 150,000 litres of water storage and an associated pumping system, the repositioning of the airside security fence and the construction of a 3120 sqm helicopter landing area.
Cessnock City Council Mayor Jay Suvaal said this project will increase readiness for future fire emergencies by providing an effective, safe and secure location to operate firefighting aircraft.
“The Aviation Fire Base will ensure the necessary water and equipment is readily available so emergency services can effectively perform their duties during future fire events,” Councillor Suvaal said.
The Aviation Fire Base will complement the $8.8 million upgrade to Cessnock Airport.
The project is scheduled to start in May 2023 and be completed by December the same year. Council said they are seeking opportunities to expedite the works using expertise obtained during the current Airport upgrade project.