New airfield permit early 2020 – shire

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MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire is hoping to have a “consolidated and enforceable permit” in place for Peninsula Aero Club to operate at Tyabb Airfield by early next year.

In a statement last Wednesday (16 October) the shire said the permit would “update and modernise” three existing planning permits “to make the existing club permits clearer and easier for all of the community to understand”.

Two days later, club president Jack Vevers accused the shire of trying to “hoodwink the community into believing they are resolving the issues between the airport and the council”.

“PAC say this feels like another poor attempt to bully PAC into an outcome and timeline that has not even been discussed, when PAC has been trying to find a solution to do this in the least disruptive way for all concerned,” Mr Vevers said on Friday.

He said there had been no agreement or discussion for PAC to apply for a “consolidated permit by December or to have this implemented in early 2020, as claimed by the council”.

“On a positive note, according to the council’s press statement, it would appear that the council now recognises that PAC does indeed have operating permits, which had been the basis of their attempted shut down of the airport which threatened 100 jobs,” Mr Vevers said.

Earlier this year the shire issued stop work notices after finding some businesses operating within the airfield precinct did not the necessary permits (“Permit row grounds airfield” The News 11/6/19).

When asked last week if PAC’s “consolidated permit” would include these individual businesses the shire’s planning and building director David Bergin said: “Council is working individually with each business to prepare a planning permit application.”

Mr Bergin said most of a master plan for the airfield (previously demanded by the shire) could be developed without the results of a noise study.

He said results of a recent noise study “will be provided to councillors first at a briefing”.

Scrutiny of operations at the Tyabb airfield followed PAC’s 11th hour withdrawal of a request for the shire to remove “holy hour” restrictions which banned flights from the airfield for one hour on Sunday mornings (“Aero club baulks a flying hours cut” The News 20/5/19).

The shire has not released results of a ratepayer-funded “full legal review” that showed businesses were operating within the airfield precinct without the required permits.

In August, the aero club cancelled its March 2020 air show, a decision later reversed amid reassurances from the shire that it did not want the airfield closed.

The shire last week said the aim of having a “consolidated permit” was to “modernise the existing 1965, 1972 and 1991 planning permits”.

“The Peninsula Aero Club has been located at the Tyabb authorised landing ground since 1965, and numerous changes have occurred since planes first started using this land. The town of Tyabb has grown significantly since the mid-1960s as has the PAC itself,” the shire’s statement said.

“Council is focussed on ensuring that the Peninsula Aero Club remains sustainable and also that the community amenity is safeguarded.

“The updated permit will ensure the appropriate use of the authorised landing ground, and help improve the amenity of residents now and in the future,” the mayor Cr David Gill said.

Cr Julie Morris – who moved the motion that called for a legal review of permits applying at the airfield – said a consolidated permit would “ensure a balanced, fair and sustainable co-existence between the PAC, associated businesses and the local community”.

First published in the Western Port News – 23 October 2019

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