A makeover for Narrabri airport terminal, the value of the Civic Art Collection and a light-hearted, gender battle were the highlights of the Narrabri Shire Council’s final meeting for 2018.

Narrabri Airport terminal is more than half a century old and due for an upgrade.

Council voted in favour of the airport advisory committee’s report and has endorsed a development concept plan, terminal precinct and terminal layout plans that will be used for future funding applications to improve the airport.

Director of Corporate Services Lindsay Mason told Monday’s meeting that the airport was the gateway to our community and that there are some issues with the current terminal.

“We’ve got a substandard old terminal there so at some time in the future we will need to update,” Mr Mason said.

“Car parking at the moment is a bit of a dog’s breakfast,” he added.

“We need to have a dedicated area for aircraft to encourage more business at the airport from a general aviation point of view.”

Mr Mason said getting the plans ap- proved was essential for funding.

“If you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a story to tell and then politicians aren’t going to look at you,” Mr Mason said.

“We have a building ready to go if we need to adapt it.”

The plans include a new terminal capable of serving growing passenger numbers, a considerable sized hangar precinct to house large aircraft and business activities, multiple small hanger lots, a new 300 space car park and an integrated passenger pick up/ drop off zone.

Mr Mason said he didn’t know what the government planned to do with security screening at smaller airports. The council also discussed the future of the Civic Art Collection.

The mayor used her casting vote to pass a recommendation that the general manager produce a report for council regarding the value of the Civic Art Collection and possible ways of exhibiting the collection.

The wording of the Civic Art Collection recommendation was challenged by deputy mayor Robert Kneale.

Cr Kneale told the meeting that the recommendation put forward by Cr Maxine Booby lacked description and he wanted more detail about who would be conducting the valuation.

He said for insurance purposes, it was essential that the collection not only be assessed as a whole but also as individual pieces.

He requested this be done by a qualified person.

Cr Kneale also suggested the council undertake discussions with the Narrabri Art and Craft Society and any other ‘stakeholders’ regarding the collection’s permanent display.

Cr Kneale said the last valuation was conducted in 2002 and it was time for a revaluation. The collection includes a painting by renowned artists, including Lloyd Rees.

However, Cr Redding said the two recommendations put forward were similar and that the cost of Cr Kneale’s suggestions were a concern because they hadn’t been factored into the current budget.

Cr Redding said she had full confidence that the general manager’s report would include the required answers.

There was also a friendly, gender battle during the meeting regarding a vote to decide if council representatives should be sent to the Australian Local Government Women’s Association Annual Conference being held in Liverpool, in April 2019.

Attendance to the ALGWA costs approximately $2,200 (ex GST), including ALGWA registration, accommodation and travel costs.

Cr Kneale asked if there was also a conference specifically for males and questioned if it was just a ‘talkfest’.

He was keen to know what the return would be in terms of value for money.

Cr Redding said male councillors could attend this conference too, and pointed out the networking opportunities.

Cr Booby also said, “come and join me Rob”.

Following some light-hearted banter the motion passed but Cr Lloyd Findlay and Cr Rob Kneale both voted against it.

“You win some, you lose some,” said Cr Kneale. He said that he was very supportive of women but wary of ‘junkets’ especially when costs can blow out.