Thumbs up for air show


NEXT year’s scheduled Tyabb air show has been cleared for take-off.

Peninsula Aero Club president Jack Vevers late Monday afternoon said he had signed a permit for the air show with Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Agreement for the permit followed a week of “intense negotiations” between the club and the shire.

The permit drawn up by the shire was delivered to Mr Vevers by shire CEO John Baker on Friday, just days after the club announced cancellation of the Sunday 8 March 2020 air show.

On Monday morning, Mr Vevers said the club had been “talking all weekend [about signing the permit], working on it”.

But the chances for the air show to proceed were doubtful as “everything has been cancelled – motels, vendors and ambos.”

He said the permit delivered by Mr Baker was the same as “what we previously found unacceptable”.

“I never wanted it [the air show] not to happen and we are all anxious to get it sorted,” Mr Vevers said.

“I am keeping positive but realistic. All the power sits with the council.

“The show could happen. If we can get a permit with conditions that are practical and usable, we will go ahead.”

The mayor Cr David Gill said there were “no contentious conditions” attached to the permit.

“There are intense negotiations going on, but either they want to have the air show or there’s something else – that’s not obvious to us – holding them back from agreeing to the permit,” Cr Gill said on Monday.

Cr Gill confirmed the shire was still insisting that the airfield should operate under a master plan.

He understood that some businesses operating at the airfield without a permit had approached the shire to obtain the necessary approvals.

The council had never intended the businesses to close, but issued a cease and desist letter for legal reasons. Cr Gill said the club’s cancelling of the air show was “game playing and childish”.

“We offered to fast track a permit and give them a draft permit, but they’ve led us down the garden path so they can blame council,” he said.

“Every other major event on the peninsula has to apply for a permit.

“The [air show] is an iconic event and we don’t want to lose it. What we do want is a master plan for the airfield that can be enforced.”

The shire last month said the aero club should conform to planning rules and apply for a permit, a move Mr Vevers branded as “blackmail” (“Shire to back air show if permit sought” The News 3/7/19).

Mr Vevers wanted the shire to accept a secondary consent application as in the past: “We normally just write to the council and fill in a form which gives us a period to vary our permit so we can run the air show – say, seven days. It’s never been an issue before.”

Keith Platt and Stephen Taylor

First published in the Western Port Times – 21 August 2019