BeCA has representation on the Caloundra Aerodrome Community & Aviation Industry Forum. The forum is a group comprised of representatives from Sunshine Coast Airport Management, Chopperline, a representative of other Airport Businesses, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and other local organizations (BeCA, Caloundra Rate Payers, Golden Beach Residents Association, Halcyon Park, and Parklands Community Group). The group meets approximately every three months. The Caloundra Aerodrome is managed by The Sunshine Coast Airport (Maroochydore). Currently the airport runs at a loss but Management is confident that this will be turned around in the near future without a comparative increase in air traffic movements.
The Forum is chaired by Peter Pallot, the Sunshine Coast Airport General Manager. Sunshine Coast Airport Management meets with Airport Businesses and develops policy to ensure Airport Businesses operate within appropriate guidelines. It is Sunshine Coast Management who develops policy documents such as “The Fly Neighbourly Policy”.
BeCA has been forwarded copies of Minutes and Powerpoint presentation from the latest meeting which was conducted at the Caloundra Council Offices on Thursday June 24th. The minutes and presentation can be downloaded HERE. It is a 850kb .pdf download.
The following issues seemed to represent issues effecting Bellvista residents.
There was a marked spike in complaints regarding aircraft noise in April. The majority of complaints referred to helicopter movements and many were made by Bellvista residents. Since April there has been a marked fall in complaints which has led Aerodrome Management to believe that April’s noise complaints were just a ‘one-off”. Airport Management met with Aerodrome Businesses and discussed the spike in aircraft noise complaints and discussed ways to address these problems and for Airport Businesses to modify practices. There have been very few complaints so far in June which indicated to Airport Management that the aircraft noise problem effecting Bellvista residents has been addressed and is there no longer a major problem.
In the map below, the colored oval shapes show the circuits which Caloundra Aerodrome policy says helicopters are meant to follow during training. The Airport Manager and others then said that following these recommended flight paths was not always possible, and on occasions, helicopters may stray over Bellvista houses. This ‘accidental’ departure from recommended circuits may occur depending on pilot skill level, air temperature and wind conditions.
BeCA representatives then referred to one helicopter in particular (dark blue in color) which seems to fly over Bellvista residents’ homes relatively frequently. This was the first time the Chairperson, (The Sunshine Coast Airport General Manager) had heard a concern relating to a particular aircraft. Councillor Grosskreutz then commented the ‘dark blue helicopter’ was the most commonly referred to aircraft she had had complaints about from residents around Caloundra. The Chairperson then asked that he would appreciate being informed of dates and times when this particular aircraft appeared to be contravening Airport Management Policy.
Bellvista residents should use the Aircraft Noise Complaints phone contact number (07) 5453 1501 if they have complaints regarding a particular aircraft and nominate a time of day of the concern. This will assist Airport Management to identify the pilot and make appropriate inquiries. Residents who have already lodged a complaint should maintain calls to Caloundra Aerodrome if problems relating to aircraft noise persist. Further action to modify aircraft behaviour over the estate depends totally on the number of complaints Caloundra Aerodrome Management receives.
There is a concern from all at the forum that airport noise complaints will only increase with the construction of Bellvista2. Bellvista2 will be constructed on the beige colored area in the above map.
The Forum endorsed the updated “Fly Neighbourly Policy” which was presented to the meeting. Copies of the documents referring to helicopters can be downloaded. The old policy can be downloaded HERE. The updated revised document with vertical lines beside the revised sections can be downloaded HERE. Both are 25kb .pdf documents.
The above documents are for helicopter movements, there are also other documents for fixed wing aircraft movements.
Finally Anna was asked about Council and State Government plans for the airport site. Council manages the airport site while the State Government owns the land. Council will decide if leases are to be continued beyond 2014. If leases are to be extended residents could expect the number of air movements in and out of the aerodrome to increase creating further tension between residents and Airport Management.
State Government is planning for future population growth and has marked Caloundra South as an area to accommodate some of the growth. The State Government has earmarked the Caloundra Aerodrome site as a future transport and roadway corridor connecting the Caloundra South development with the Sunshine Coast. The previous Caloundra Council had also planned to build a new CBD complex on the site. Kawana has its shopping and business complexes and the former Caloundra Council believed the site would allow Caloundra to have its own shopping and business complex. If it was not built there, the new complex would be built a further 11 kilometres to the south leaving Caloundra without its own complex.
The current amalgamated Sunshine Coast Regional Council has little knowledge of the issue and of the history of the debate over the Caloundra Aerodrome site. This debate has now been going on for 20 years! Therefore SCRC will need to take on a steep learning curve to bring it up to speed on all the facts over the future of the Caloundra Aerodrome.
When asked what was the probable outcome for the Aerodrome Anna Grosskreutz’s answer was, “If the Aerodrome is to stay and therefore expand, I expect extensive community consultation.”
There is till much debate and decision making to take place.