Federation Council has hit the pause button on a deal with Amber Airports for the long-term use of Corowa aerodrome for pilot training.
Council staff had drafted a five-part recommendation for councillor approval on Thursday including agreement to the terms specified in the draft lease with Amber Airports and subsequent signing of relevant documents.
But the two items were withdrawn at the 11th hour pending more talks between council and the company.
Council had initially invited expressions of interest for the long-term lease of airport land in 2018, following on an unsuccessful bid for the Qantas flight school.
Subsequently, Amber Airports have been in talks with council to establish a pilot training academy which will be training up to 500 students annually and employing 150 staff in a massive economic boost for Corowa and surrounds.
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Proposed key lease arrangements included $1 per year for first six years at which time a market rent review take effect with minimum payable to be no less than $100,000 per annum.
The term of the proposed lease was 34 years with two similar length options.
Delays in negotiations have occurred with a major one being Amber Airports seeking a training provider for the theoretical component of the commercial pilot's licence.
Initial talks were held with TAFE NSW, but they fell over before Amber Aviation undertook its own registered training organisation accreditation.
The council has also had to upgrade the runway, apron and taxiway at the airport following an assessment by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Council has already spent $561,158 and a further $436,348 is required.
The draft lease was still being finalised before the council meeting with work being done to better define maintenance and capital obligations of both parties post a deal being struck.
Negotiations will continue and continue to seek funding for the $436,348 worth of improvements.
"To get the lease right is to the betterment of both parties," deputy mayor Shaun Whitechurch said.
"We are effectively looking at upwards of nearly 100 years of lease at the airport if options are taken up."
General manager Adrian Butler said the council was aware airport facilities needed upgrading and the lease deal had to be iron clad.
"Amber is still excited about the proposal as are we and we just want to have a document we are all comfortable with," he said.