BeCA representatives attended the quarterly Caloundra Aerodrome Community and Aviation Industry Forum on Wednesday evening in the Caloundra Council Offices.
Again attendance was down with only two community organisations (BeCA and Southern Ratepayers) in attendance. Two Caloundra Aerodrome Lesees were there along with other Sunshine Coast Regional Airport Officers, our local Councillor Rick Baberowski and Councillor Robinson from Division 9 whose Council portfolio is ‘Aviation’.
There were several apologies from other Community organisations unable to attend.
The Forum meeting was chaired by Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Peter Pallot.
The major agenda item for discussion was a report on the recent submissions called for regarding the draft Caloundra Aerodrome Master Plan. These submissions will form a report which will go to Council in March.
A list of “Common Issues for External Stakeholders” was presented. These included:
– Noise (helicopter noise is most often referred to),
– Safety of operations over dwellings,
– Need for a Satellite Training Facility,
– Increase restrictions on operations to reflect new residential development,
– Environmental impacts upon flora/fauna.
A second list was presented on issues raised by Operators, Lessees and Industry.
One of these was ‘mixed feeling on the need to extend runways’.
Some other concerns were:
– General opposition to landing and parking fees
– Traffic forecast,
– Cost of registration or Opposed to registration,
– Need to encourage private aircraft hangers.
Comments were called for on these issues and BeCA voiced its concerns on possible runway extensions. BeCA argued the airport was now in the middle of a huge state government proposed residential area. This was a residential environment which must be considered as a crucial plank in the outcomes of any Master Plan. The residents would eventually dictate the future of Caloundra Airport and that this Master Plan should carefully make its recommendations with the needs and concerns of residents in mind.
To support this BeCA raised the activity of Becker helicopters over the estate on Sunday morning (Feb 3rd) and the barrage of noise and inconvenience many residents were forced to experience over a 4 hour period. We quoted the ‘Facebook’ entries of children crying because of the excessive noise, and that we had powerful photographic evidence of what residents had been forced to endure throughout the morning and early afternoon.
A response from one member present was that unfortunately the weather conditions on Sunday were ideal for helicopter training. The recent inclement weather had meant helicopter training times had been put on hold and this was an opportune time to catch up. BeCA responded by saying this is exactly the attitude of some businesses who make decisions purely from their own perspective and fail to have any consideration for residents who live in any proximity to where the training would occur. It was this attitude by some operators who put their own commercial interests above any impact on residents which could lead to the demise of Caloundra Aerodrome.
BeCA has learnt that there is currently an investigation being carried out following its concerns from Becker Helicopters’ recent activity. Questions we would like to see asked is why was the training at Caloundra? Was there similar activity at Maroochydore and/or Teewah? BeCA will be forwarded any recommendations arising from the investigation.
You can view the contents of the Powerpoint Presentation given at Aerodrome Forum Meeting HERE. It is a 860kb pdf download.
Outside the meeting Peter Pallot expressed his concern over what had happened on Sunday. Both BeCA and SC Regional Airport Management had spent much time trying to solve problems created by Helicopter Training touch n go’s over our estate. In one 4 hour period on Sunday morning all the good work had been destroyed.
An ‘active pilot’ who attended the meeting told BeCA representatives that as soon as he saw the flying conditions on Sunday morning he felt very sorry for residents of both Bellvista and Pelican Waters. He strongly suspected what was about to happen.
The need for a satellite training facility is recognized as a major solution to problems created by Helicopter Pilot training ‘touch ‘n go’s. The construction of a satellite helicopter training facility would help to cement the future of Caloundra Aerodrome.
The meeting went on to see reports on noise and aircraft traffic statistics, and progress on lease arrangements.
The meeting closed around 6:30 pm.
Use the links below for more photographs of helicopter activity above our estate on Sunday Feb 3rd. Click on the photo above for a larger view.