24 June, 2022
Former mayor to be recognised for vision
THE efforts and passion of former Mareeba Mayor Tom Gilmore to upgrade the town’s airport will be recognised after Mareeba Shire Council decided to name the Western Aviation Industrial Park after him.
Mr Gilmore was Mayor from 2008 to 2012, when the Mareeba Shire was amalgamated with three other shires to form Tablelands Regional Council, and then from 2013 to 2020 after the de-amalgamation.
During his time as Mayor, he was instrumental in securing funding and providing the vision to ensure the successful completion of the $23 million upgrade of the airport in 2019.
The project was delivered against a backdrop of constrained funding opportunities and required significant support from Mr Gilmore to achieve its successful completion.
Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin said naming the industrial park after Mr Gilmore was “a fitting tribute” given his vision for the aerodrome and his passion and efforts to bring about the much-needed upgrade.
At the time of the official opening of the upgraded airport in 2019, Mr Gilmore spoke passionately of what he hoped the new facility would bring to the shire.
“This facility provides the opportunity for the general aviation maintenance and flight training facilities to be further developed over time which will provide economic growth and employment of youth in this exciting industry,” he said at the time.
“I anticipate that over the next decade, this facility will see the employment of hundreds of people involved in high-level aviation.
“From my perspective this is one of the most important things I have seen happen in my time of local government,” he said.
The Mareeba Airport supports approximately 1,000 aircraft movements a month, and training accounts for approximately 50 per cent of all landings.
It is currently home to several flight training operators, aircraft maintenance businesses, agricultural aviation operators and recreational aviators.
Due to the upgrade of the airport, there are strong prospects for further growth in demand, with many existing users proposing to expand their operations over the next decade, particularly in relation to flight training.
The Western Aviation Industrial Park, which represents the cornerstone development of the Mareeba Aerodrome, will now be named after Mr Gilmore.
The aerodrome already includes named elements, which will remain including “Hoevet Field” (named in 2011 after pilot, Major Dean C. Hoevet), Western precinct roads (named in 2019 for military personnel), JRM Braes Road (named in 2010, previously Harte Street), and the eastern grassed park, “Rex Budd Memorial Park” (named in 2015 for his contribution to heli-mustering).