PREPARING Tenterfield Airport for the coming bushfire season and other disasters is a top priority for the new owners.
The Friends of Tenterfield Aerodrome is leasing the airport, about six kilometres northwest of town, from Tenterfield Shire Council after the facility was put to tender.
President Rob Evans said the first task for club members was to stock the aerodrome with water and fuel available for firefighting.
They'd also like to seal an area of the airstrip to allow helicopters and fixed wing aircraft to be able to land in any weather.
"Currently the Westpace Rescue Helicopter has to land in Federation Park, which isn't really suitable," Mr Evans said.
"An upgraded airport would also be more suitable for medical and rescue use."
As a pilot, Mr Evans uses his four-seater Mooney aircraft for Angel Flight Australia, a charity the transports patients to larger medical centres for non-essential medical equipment.
"Initially we need to organise a system of maintenance and to start much needed work.
"Longer term, we want to ensure the airport attracts people to the Tenterfield region, whether for tourism, moving here or starting a business.
"We see this as an important part of Tenterfield's position in the region."
Mr Evans thanked the community that had pulled together to get the club's bid over the line and to sign a 30-year lease.
The Tenterfield Golf Club donated a wide area mower to mow the strip.
Tenterfield Towing and Car Centre owners Robert and Adele Bates donated a tractor, while Grant Townes Haulage has offered to transport a slasher from Brisbane to the airport.
"Steve Alford, of Alford and Duff, has donated significant administration support," Mr Evans said.
"There are many others who have donated in cash or kind, including club members, councillors, professionals such as Ken Cockburn (surveyor) and Doug Bassett (solicitor). Too many to mention."
Other donations have included water tanks and security lighting.
The lease is for 30 years; Mr Evans said the club would be looking at applying for grants from federal and state government to enable more improvements further down the track.
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