Berrigan Shire Council has approved a $45,000 loan to improve fuel availability at the Tocumwal Aerodrome.
The loan has been issued to Albury-based company Aero Refuellers.
The company already supplies fuel at the aerodrome and will use the funds to install a new fuel bowser and multi-card reader.
The new bowser will allow fuel access to all users of the aerodrome, regardless of whether they have an Aero Refuellers access card or not.
Berrigan Shire general manager Rowan Perkins said a new bowser would also prevent ongoing access issues being experienced with the current bowser.
Mr Perkins said the present fuel supply arrangement had seen two ongoing issues that needed to be addressed if the fuel supply was to adequately meet the needs of the Council and aerodrome users.
‘‘Firstly, the purchase of fuel currently requires the use of an ‘Aero Refuellers’ card which is effectively a credit account from the company, and restricts access to the fuel supply to holders of those cards only.
‘‘This creates obvious problems for casual users of the aerodrome and has created many dissatisfied aerodrome users that arrive only to find that they cannot access the fuel supply.
‘‘Secondly, the quality of the card reader and the cards has seen many holders of the Aero Refuellers cards also unable to access the fuel supply.’’
Council and aerodrome users have continued to lobby Aero Refuellers to replace the payment system with a multi-card reader system.
A multi-card system works much like an EFTPOS machine.
‘‘This lobbying has been largely unsuccessful because the fuel supply itself is commercially marginal and there is a significant risk that if pushed, the service will be simply withdrawn and the equipment relocated to a more viable site,’’ Mr Perkins said.
‘‘In considering the options, to provide the multi-card reading system and to eliminate the reliability issue, requires replacement of both the existing card reader and also the fuel bowser.
‘‘The cost of the combined unit is quoted as $42,195. This equipment is however only a part of the overall fuel supply system.’’
Mr Perkins said with Aero Refuellers profit margin for the Tocumwal bowser being $15,000, he said the cost of replacing the old system could be recovered in just three years.
Aero Refuellers has been offered the loan for a period of five years.
Mr Perkins said council worked with Aero Refuellers on the progress, and would not accept a ‘‘do nothing’’ approach.
Mayor Bernard Curtin said the fuel supply upgrades at the aerodrome could encourage future development and use of the aerodrome.
‘‘Expanding the operations at Tocumwal Aerodrome to consolidate its future continues to be on the council’s agenda.
‘‘The council will now work with Aero Refuellers to upgrade the fuel supply system at the aerodrome.
‘‘Improved fuel supply facilities will allow for the use of EFTPOS facilities for purchase of fuel by most common cards. It’s expected this improvement will result in greater local fuel sales and increased visitation.’’
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