Lobbyist stands by airport claims

PROPONENTS of a failed bid to attract Gannawarra Shire Council support for a multi-million dollar flight academy project at Cohuna remain at odds with council's stance.

Council's version of the events leading to a decision to not support the proposal has been again challenged, this time by lobbyist, Andrew Gibbs, who represented the project investors.

Mr Gibbs has taken the unusual step of swearing a statutory declaration in submitting a lengthy letter.

He said that he had submitted the letter so that residents could pass their own judgement.

Mr Gibbs challenges the mayor, Cr Brian Gibson's version of events and the stance by deputy mayor, Cr Lorraine Learmonth, who represents the Cohuna area on council.

Earlier this month, in response to claims presented by Leitchville business owner, John Smith, the mayor defended his decision at a meeting with interested parties to promote Kerang airport as an alternative venue for the project based on council ownership of the airport land and the capacity for expansion.

Council records show that the project was considered at two closed briefing meeting and not brought to an open council meeting for resolution.

Cr Gibson told the Gannawarra Times earlier this month that it was not formally presented at an open meeting because the investor had withdrawn the proposal.

Mr Smith and Mr Gibbs both reject that assertion. 

Mr Gibbs stated that what occurs next is for others to judge, but has suggested to the mayor and deputy mayor that "it's time you seriously consider removing yourselves from office". 

"This letter to the editor was provided on a legal statutory declaration, to give further assurances to the community that we have nothing to hide and stand by the truth in presenting these facts, counter checked against notes and files confirming as much, to the best of our ability," he said.

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