From this Caloundra Aerodrome Forum meeting, BeCA understands the Interim Satellite Helicopter Training Facility interim solution has been all signed and is about to be put into practice. BeCA representatives have been advised to be ready for an upcoming press release announcement on this agreement.
The agreement has been made with Becker Helicopters and does not include Chopperline/Airways Aviation, the helicopter training company which operates out of Caloundra Aerodrome.
This will mean that up 70% of repetitive circuits by helicopters from Becker Helicopters will be removed from above our homes. The remaining 30% of training includes activities which must be completed at an aerodrome. This should not include numerous repetitive circuits.
It has been negotiated that this 30% of activity will be limited to 2 x 90 minute sessions per day involving no more than two aircraft at a time between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday. The 90 minute sessions are to be timed from base to base, i.e. that is the 90 minutes begins from the departure from Maroochydore until their return to Maroochydore.
This agreement remains in place until December 2016.
It was also reported that the permanent solution discussions are continuing between a new Sunshine Coast Airport Task Force Team and the State Government and are progressing well. The permanent deal was within a signature or two from signing off with the previous LNP State Government, but lapsed when the state election was called. The Task Force Team has managed to pick up the pieces and discussions on finalizing the deal with the new State Labor Government are progressing very well indeed. It appears the ‘permanent’ solution will be a more sophisticated facility than the temporary one which is basically just an open plot of ground.
Other discussions at this meeting included keeping the issue of Caloundra Aerodrome relocation ‘on the table’ with this group. Mick Graham from the Golden Beach Progress Association continued to point out the rapid development of residential areas in close proximity to the current aerodrome and the impact this may have on the aerodrome’s ability to continue to operate effectively into the future. There was concern that as the Sunshine Coast Airport developed with the new runway proposal, there may be an overflow of aircraft training and activity on to Caloundra Aerodrome to the detriment of residential areas. According to Sunshine Coast Airport Management, this will not happen.
BeCA raised concerns on public safety.
The rapidly deteriorating traffic situation on the Sunshine Coast as the region becomes the second fastest residential growth area in Australia, made the major construction of roads, the need to develop the CAMCOS corridor and the supply other infrastructure a major focus for the region and Council. The relocation of the Aerodrome could become a possibility and ensure its future.
With the proposed visit of the Minister for Transport in November, it was suggested time be found for this forum to meet with him to further discuss this area’s needs.
Other topics discussed included the need to further promote the Queensland Air Museum as a major tourist attraction. It was suggested the extension of land (still under process) available to the museum would allow it to become the major tourist feature it should be. It boasts one of the best collections in the world.
The visit of Cruise Ships to the region and possibility of tours to the Queensland Air Museum should be further developed.
The next scheduled meeting of this Forum was to be schedule for early in December