MORE than a decade of planning and hard work will come to fruition next month when the Orange Aero Club unveils the Max Hazelton Aero Centre at Orange Airport.
Organising committee chairman Bob Nash said the finishing touches were being made to the $350,000 facility ahead of the official opening on August 24.
Mr Nash believes the centre, which includes a medical interchange service, is the best thing to have happened in the history of the club.
“The aero club has been around since the early 1900s but went into recess for nearly two decades before its reincarnation about 20 years ago,” he said.
“It’s the culmination of lots of years of work, thinking, planning and endeavour to achieve not only a home for the aero club but also a great community facility.”
Mr Nash said the medical interchange service was the most significant aspect of the centre and would provide an undercover area for patients being transferred from ambulances to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, air ambulances and Wingaway.
He estimated more than 500 people a year would require the use of the facilities.
“Patient preparations and transfers between road and air ambulances used to be conducted on the tarmac in all kinds of weather,” he said.
“This service will mean that ambulances and aircraft will have 24-hour access to a facility where patients and staff can enjoy the use of an interchange area, complete with kitchen, disabled toilet and shower, and is air-conditioned to ensure the comfort of all those who need to use it.”
Orange City Council, which provided more than $200,000 for the project through funding and a long-term loan, will benefit greatly from the centre.
Council commercial and emergency services manager Kel Gardiner confirmed when the partnership was formed that they would use the 400-square metre building as a temporary terminal for up to two years while the current terminal building was replaced.
“The completion of this project provides a positive story from the central west and the Australian General Aviation community, at a time when a large part of our general aviation community is experiencing difficulty and hard times,” Mr Nash said.
“We believe it’s a win-win for the club, council and community alike.”
The official opening, which is invite only, will be on August 24, while a community opening will be held on August 25, with everyone invited to attend.