COUNCILLORS have supported an "urgent" recommendation for a report on the possible unauthorised use of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society building by commercial operators.
Last Tuesday night, Shellharbour councillors voted 3-2 for a report on the building at the Illawarra Regional Airport, Albion Park Rail.
Councillor Peter Moran said the building was leased by council to HARS, a non-profit organisation. However, it appeared the building was being sublet.
Cr Moran said no current council officer was aware of what was happening in the building as no documentation existed, but a "verbal" agreement had apparently been made with a previous council officer.
He also expressed concerns that the building still did not have an occupation certificate.
One of the commercial organisations in question was a training organisation that was taking students into a building that did not have fire safety approvals in place.
"This involves groups of schoolchildren going into an upstairs room with only one entry and exit to it," Cr Moran said.
"Below this room is an area filled with aircraft - some that would have a small amount of aircraft fuel in their tanks and a lot of aircraft fuel vapour, which is dangerous.
"Given the public safety aspects of this matter, it is time for the council to enforce the conditions of consent.
"This is a facility that is council-owned and council will take liability if it involves injury or loss of life."
Council staff previously said the "disjointed" and "often unco-ordinated" construction of the various stages of the HARS building meant a construction certificate had not been issued.
However, the council staff also said that work by various consultants, the involvement of Fire and Rescue NSW and a plan of management restricting access to the building meant the level of fire risk the building posed was considered "reasonable".
The council's director of city outcomes, Carey McIntyre, said the council was "acutely aware" of issues surrounding the construction certificate and a plan was being put in place to reach some finality before the end of the month.
Councillors John Murray and Paul Rankin were absent from the vote.