Aerial photo of the new runway during construction as part of the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion.
Aerial photo of the new runway during construction as part of the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion.

Looking for flight path opposition lift-off

A Sunshine Coast Airport new runway flight path protest group will be hoping the newly elected Noosa Council will get behind its push to help banish low flying aircraft over local residential areas.

Flight Path Forum spokeswoman Vivien Griffin said a request for a meeting to run through their issues received a quick response from Mayor Clare Stewart and her council team for a July 20 meeting.

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“I think it’s certainly very important to brief the new (council) people, the former council back in April last year raised this matter at the ordinary meeting level and totally supported the residents in their goals and concerns,” Ms Griffin said.

“We want to make sure all councillors and the mayor understand that this is not a done deal, that there is the opportunity to review the flight paths and essentially that’s our goal.

“The runway itself is in a sense set in concrete, but the issue for flight paths is up for review and that’s what we’ll focus on,” she said.

The Civil Aviation Authority is October last year approved the flight paths which would impact areas like Peregian Beach and Peregian Springs, Marcus Beach, Yandina Creek and Verrierdale.

In October a Sunshine Coast Airport spokeswoman told the Sunshine Coast Daily the airspace changes were “necessary to achieve safe and efficient operations for the airport and the community”.

The new runway at Sunshine Coast Airport.
The new runway at Sunshine Coast Airport.

Ms Griffin said FPF was pursuing two key issues in the wake of the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman’s damning report on the previous flight path consultation process.

“There is to be this post implementation review,” she said.

“In essence, the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman has recommended that Airservices Australia go back to the drawing board with regard to flight path design and to engage with the community in doing so.

“Obviously the report by the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman is absolutely vital and vindicated the enormous outrage and concern by residents in April last year,” Ms Griffin said.

The terms of reference for that review are to be completed by September 30 “so our absolute key focus” is to demand FPF “be at the table in setting the terms of reference”.

Her group has also lodged a complaint with the Commonwealth Ombudsman about the handling of their safety concerns about a flight path over a hard rock quarry at Yandina Creek by the aviation authorities.

Ms Griffin said FPF will be writing to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack as the overseeing minister to demand proper standards of consultation this time around.

“It should be a very genuine process,” she said.

Her group is also seeking support of local federal MP Llew O’Brien in pursuing their aims.

Airservices Australia has accepted Australian Noise Ombudsman’s recommendations with a proposed changes framework to be implemented as part of an 18-month review.

Ms Griffin said FPF would be commissioning an independent expert review of the flight paths for consideration as part of the review “rather than just pulling something out of the air”.

Her group will also be urging supporters to write to these authorities to let make them aware of the ongoing concerns so FPF has proper input.

Ms Griffin said the review authorities have to understand “there are real people affected by these issues and we’re not going away”.