VCAT backs aero club against shire


THE Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has chided Mornington Peninsula Shire Council for going over the top in its demands that Peninsula Aero Club satisfy stringent noise and master plan conditions just to move a shed beside a runway.

The authority’s ruling, handed down Monday 17 February, centred around an amendment to a PAC permit to allow the maintenance shed to be moved from the north-east to the west side of the Tyabb airfield runway.

VCAT member Christina Fong said the council was making a “deliberate attempt to impose conditions … and impose restraints on the lawful conduct” of the airfield.

She said the club’s application to move the shed involved “no intensification of use, no off-site impact, and no design issue”.

“What the council is trying to do is impose more than what is sought,” Ms Fong said.

She said the contested condition 5 was about “imposing controls that [the] council would like to have [which] constitute an attempt to regulate the continued use of the airfield” and that it be deleted.

Ms Fong said the amount of work needed to draw up an airfield master plan and noise management plan condition was unworkable and the specified timeline “unrealistic”.

Ms Fong said the council had not insisted on a master plan and noise management plan at the time the shed was approved in December 2017.

The dispute is the latest skirmish in a long running battle of wills between the aero club and the council.

The council is determined to impose tougher restrictions on the operations of the club so that it is run in an “orderly and controlled way” with council-approved master and noise management plans.

The plans would identify and govern all aspects of the airfield’s operations, including hours of operation, aircraft movements each day, training activities, commercial aviation activities, club events, and changes to the use of existing facilities.

Relations became so tense last year that the club called off its scheduled Tyabb Air Show after president Jack Vevers said the club had been unable to reach agreement with the council over a permit for the event. (“Club abandons air show” The News 13/8/19).

A week later – following “intense negotiations” between the club and the shire – the air show was “cleared for take-off” on Sunday 8 March.

First published in the Western Port News – 26 February 2020


Comments are closed.