Sunshine Coast Council looks forward to flight paths discussion

Sunshine Coast Council is looking forward to setting the record straight when it attends a round table discussion organised by Airservices Australia to discuss the final flight path designs for the new runway at the Sunshine Coast Airport on Friday, 5 July.

The round table will be attended by representatives from Airservices Australia, the Flight Path Forum, Noosa Shire Council, Sunshine Coast Airport, the Federal Members for Fairfax (Ted O’Brien) and Wide Bay (Llew O’Brien), the State Member for Noosa (Sandy Bolton) and Sunshine Coast Council.

Sunshine Coast Council Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer said this was an opportunity to spell out, yet again, the extensive consultation process undertaken during the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion project, to combat the extensive misinformation that has been circulated in the Noosa Shire and in the northern Sunshine Coast Council area.

“In developing the EIS, Sunshine Coast Council engaged in what could only be described as one of the most comprehensive assessment and community consultation processes for any project in the history of this region, which resulted in all necessary approvals being granted for the Airport expansion project,” Cr Dwyer said.

“The round table on Friday provides yet another opportunity for Sunshine Coast Council to comprehensively demonstrate to the Flight Path Forum, Noosa Shire Council and the Member for Wide Bay that the information being conveyed to Noosa residents is wrong.

“Our council is also particularly looking forward to the Flight Path Forum putting on the table their alternative flight paths for the new runway, which they have promised to release publicly on a number of occasions, including at a public forum they held on June 22 in Noosa.

“To date, they have not provided their alternative flight paths to council, the Sunshine Coast Airport or the general public for consideration.

“I am sure all participants in the roundtable discussion will welcome the opportunity to review their proposed alternative flight paths.

“The current proposed flight paths which were outlined in the EIS have been in the public domain since at least September 2014 and have been the subject of detailed consideration and design since then.

“Yet no one appears to have seen the alternative flight paths promoted by the Flight Path Forum.

“Now, more than ever, it is imperative that those options be placed on the table on Friday so they can be openly discussed.

“And contrary to the advice that has been conveyed by the Flight Path Forum on ABC Sunshine Coast on June 21, 2019, if their alternative flight paths depart substantially from those concepts published in the EIS, then they would likely trigger the need for an additional EIS in order to be considered.

“The $319 million Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion project is at risk of being delayed for years – and at a cost of tens of millions of dollars to Sunshine Coast ratepayers – simply because some Noosa Shire residents did not engage with previous consultation processes and now seek to object to flight paths that will actually lessen the impact on residents in their own shire – those who live at Noosa Heads, Marcus Beach, Pomona, Cooroy, Boreen Point, Cooroibah and Lake Macdonald.”

To further improve environmental impacts, Airservices Australia consulted earlier this year on the following proposed flight path design variations from the design concepts published in the EIS:

  • The two arrival flight paths to the north/north west of the new runway will no longer track over the east of Cooroy or near Pomona
  • The departure flight path to the north has been relocated away from Cooroibah and Lake Macdonald
  • The arrival path from the north tracking to the west of Boreen Point has been removed from the design
  • The departure flight path to the northwest (near Cooroy and Pomona) has been removed from the design.
  • The arrival flight path from the northeast will track along the coast and cross the coastline further away from Noosa Heads
  • While within the EIS corridor, the departure flight path over water for flights to the south will cross the coast further north to avoid directly overflying the community of Marcus Beach.

“What is also interesting is that a Noosa Shire Council report in April this year acknowledged the proposed airspace and flight path design developed by Airservices Australia for the new runway at the Sunshine Coast Airport will have minimal impact on Noosa Shire,” Cr Dwyer said.

“The Sunshine Coast Airport expansion project will deliver substantial benefits to Noosa Shire residents and their economy, which is so heavily reliant on tourism.

“Just recently, Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington stated his council wanted to attract high yield tourists rather than the drive market, yet how can that occur without our international airport being in operation?

“These high yield tourists who don’t travel by car have to get to Noosa somehow – and the only option would be to arrive through the Sunshine Coast Airport.

“If the Flight Path Forum isn’t prepared to table their alternative flight paths at the round table discussion on Friday – flight paths that apparently have been prepared by three pilots – then one has to wonder what their agenda really is.

“Sunshine Coast Council is confident of the rigour of the EIS for the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion project, which was subsequently approved by the relevant state and federal government agencies in 2016.

“The project is now well and truly underway and is being delivered in accordance with the approvals obtained through due process,” Cr Dwyer said.

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