Year off to a flying start

05 Jan 2016 Shepparton News, Shepparton VIC (General News) by John Lewis BENALLA AERODROME CELEBRATES RECEIVING A MAJOR FUNDING BOOST FROM THE STATE GOVERNMENT Benalla was f lying high yesterday after a funding boost for the redevelopment of its airport and the opening of its national gliding championships. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes announced $500 000 towards Benalla Aerodromes upgrade to enable the facility to host international gliding events, accommodate larger aircraft and provide greater freight and emergency capacity. Benalla Rural City Mayor Justin King said the funding announcement came on the back of $715 000 from the Federal Government in December, $250 000 from the council and $10 000 from airport user groups. Its been a big year of lobbying and community input but its going to be a huge benefit for Benalla. Its just wonderful for our community, Cr King said. He said airport upgrades would include extensions and safety improvements to the runway, apron and glider strips, improved security fencing and drainage, a new fuelling station and upgrades to the hangar. All eyes are on the sky now, Cr King said. Ms Symes also opened the 54th Australian Multiclass Gliding Championships at the airport yesterday. Between 80 and 100 gliders will take to the skies over Benalla during the next two weeks. The championships are a precursor to next years World Gliding Championships which is predicted to attract up to 500 competitors from around Australia and the world. Ms Symes said the ability to host major gliding events will open up Benallas future to host other largescale events. Sporting events . . . turn the international spotlight on Benalla and Victoria and reaffirm our reputation as the nations sporting capital, Ms Symes said. She said economic modelling showed the airport upgrade would create more than 30 jobs in Benalla. Caption Text: Lobbying efforts: Mayor Justin King showed State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes around Benalla Airport last week. Fully-funded: Mayor Justin King, Gliding Club of Victoria President John Switala, State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes, Gliding Club of Victoria Vice-President Tim Shirley and Benalla Rural City Council chief executive Tony McIlroy celebrate the announcement of a $500 000 grant from the state governments Regional Infrastructure Fund. Copyright Agency licensed copy (