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Did you get the model & texture library (26th October 2010)

YWOH Wongan Hills Airstrip

Uploaded 26th October 2010
On Friday, 9 August 2002 during particularly bad weather the Wongan Hills airstrip was unable to be used by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) for an emergency transfer. The airstrip was not closed by Council but rather the RFDS refused to use the strip as they felt it was unsafe.  Council at its September 2002 meeting agreed to investigate the sealing of the Wongan Hills airstrip and make a submission for funding at the next available round under the Regional Airports’ Development Scheme.

On 9 January 2003 a meeting was held with Aerodrome Management Services (AMS) who were engaged to investigate and prepare a funding submission to the State Governments Regional Airport Development Scheme (RADS) to seal and upgrade the Wongan Hills Airstrip.  In February 2003 AMS visited the site completed a basic survey & soil test analysis in preparation for the grant proposal.  Then in September 2003 Council were informed that CASA guidelines for the sealing of the airstrip had changed which resulted in a significant reduction of cut and fill. As a result new design drawings were prepared which would include additional improvements to the lighting to reduce the incidences of vandalism.  Funding was from the State Governments Regional Airport Development Scheme (RADS) ($209,375), Councils cash contribution ($205,620) and the community in kind contribution of $75,000. This allowed the sealing of the main runway (airstrip 07-25) to 18m by 1220m with sealed turning nodes, sealed parking areas, submerged lighting and a sealed approach road (Airport Road). As a result of these improvements this saw removal of minor strip 12-30 and the retention of strip 18-36 with a completely regravelled surface.

Local support came in many forms, from local farmers and businesses to contractors donating or discounting machinery, labour, materials and equipment to the project. Assistance has also came from service clubs and community groups in providing lunches and other support over the 9 day period. Indeed the project saw at least 120 people volunteering approximately 1200 truck, loader and labour hours over a hectic community cartage of 9 days duration, moving some 40,000 tonnes of gravel.  Local support was coordinated by a dozen volunteer team leaders across the entire Shire who had the task of coordinating donated trucks and drivers each day for 9 days.

The culmination of the event was at the Parmelia Hilton on Saturday night the 6th August 2005, when the Community of Wongan-Ballidu was announced the Kleenheat Gas Community of the Year, ensuring celebration and acknowledgement of the outstanding community spirit alive and well within that Shire.  The Award was based on the Community’s extraordinary feat in re-structuring its airfield, bringing the site to world-class standards and ensuring the health and safety of everyone in the surrounding area as the runway and access road were converted to handle all-weather conditions.  Having experienced the frustration and fear when, on three separate occasions, rain and a sodden runway turned away the Royal Flying Doctor Service during emergencies, the community rallied to make a difference and ensure everyone could receive the best health service available, at all times.  Shire President, Cr Duncan Holme, accepted the Award from Kleenheat Gas General Manager, Tim Bult, on behalf of the Wongan-Ballidu Community and in company of four other community representatives who were instrumental in completing the airfield redevelopment, Robin Millsteed, Peter Macnamara, Michael Brennan and Dale Stewart.  In his acceptance speech, Cr Holme related how on the one day in August, 2002, two people required RFDS but wet weather forced the Shire to close the strip.  "Our road leading to the runway was boggy as well, so not only could the plane not land, but the ambulance couldn’t be used to drive the patients to meet it." Cr Holme said.

"That was the turning point and at the very next Council meeting we resolved to find the money and wherewithal to upgrade everything - and our community was determined to pitch in."  An airport committee of three was formed, led by Robin Millsteed, and their brief was to engage 10 people to each find 10 other people.
Cr Peter Macnamara was one, who explained, "We needed machinery and people who would commit to work for as long as it took, and the job was to get the 10 or not come back."  "Every person I asked said yes and none of them pulled out," he added.

In nine days the airfield was flattened out, with a bump removed and a hollow filled in. It was bituminised 1.2 kilometres long by 40 metres wide; remote (radio frequency) controlled lights were installed and the town road leading to the site was prepared and sealed.  One hundred and twenty volunteers gave up 2,445 hours of their time; 33 lunches, morning and afternoon teas were provided every day by a roster of people from the Red Cross, four CWA groups, Rotary and two ladies’ Church groups.  And in the evening Landmark and Elders cooked the sausage sizzle meal – when they could get the volunteers to stop.
There were 18 trucks, completing up to two trips per hour (on the last day, the rate was one truck per minute going down the main street of town), plus two low-loaders, one dozer, water trucks, rollers, two graders and the operators.

As well, volunteers from town acted as traffic controllers, tailgate openers, mechanics, tyre changers and HQ personnel, whose job it was to obtain all the details of each day’s achievements and plan the next work load in time to brief the early morning crew the following day.  The volunteers were also not solely from the Wongan-Ballidu Community Cr Holme added "We had help from people from our adjoining Shires and even had machinery donated from our neighbour Council, the Shire of Victoria Plains – a true regional effort you might say".  "On the last afternoon, a big storm went through the Shire and we all spent the next two days fighting fires, including one on Committee Chairman Rob Millsteed’s property," Cr Holme said.  On Anzac Day, 2004, the new facility was opened by Hon Alanna MacTiernan, Minister for Transport – and the day was catered for by community volunteers from Wongan-Ballidu Apex Club.  "RFDS were there, so we passed around the hat and raised $1,100 for them," said Cr Holme.  "The project is a pinnacle in terms of our Shire’s  combined community effort, since its inception, and the experience for every individual who worked on it will stay forever with them as an example of the spirit of ‘together we achieve more’," he said.  It their concluding note in the written nomination for the Award, Wongan-Ballidu community wrote: "Our community gave a clear and resounding demonstration of its own true capacity to thrive beyond perceived limitations – that the tyranny of distance, insufficiency of population, lack of education, scarcity of resources are misnomers and fictional barriers – that nothing can stop people in regional WA when they act upon their collective vision, passion and desire to achieve."
This representation only places a portion of the town order to preserve the frame rate.

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Declaration:  Alan Blencowe does not have any financial interests in any payware companies or sites and apart from FSX and FenceBuilderPro, all scenery projects are developed totally free of reliance on payware.  Models created by Alan Blencowe with freeware can be used in freeware projects with permission.