The development application was approved in the MSC meeting 21 March 2018 to increase flights from 52 a year to 365 a year.
Three Councillors voted against and four in favour of it, but not before Cr Angela Toppin put in an amendment, to change the maximum number of flights from six to one flight a day. Thank you Cr Nipper Brown, Lenore Wyatt and Kevin Davies for thinking of the community and voting against it.
The applicant negotiated conditions and asked for a max of three flights a day. This was refused at the 20 June Council meeting leaving approval for 365 flights year with a maximum of one a day.
In May the Koah community raised money by crowdfunding and paid for written advice from an aviation expert. This advice stated that the submitted take off flight path did not comply with Civil Aviation Regulations and that it should not inform a condition of approval. The pilot admitted that it was a take off flight path he had only used on a handful of occasions- and that he found it difficult to execute. Despite this, the take off flight plan has not been changed and has been kept in the final decision notice- which is very disappointing. Click on the link below to see the complete copy of this advice.
No appeal was lodged by any of the 169 submitters who opposed the increase in flights (13 supported it) so the surplus funds donated to the crowdfunding appeal are in the process of being donated to the Environmental Defender’s Office NQ (EDONQ), a community legal service who gave the Koah residents free advice. $1911 was donated in total and $1204.50 paid to Aviation Projects for Keith Tonkin, the aviation expert’s advice. This left $706.50 surplus for donation to EDONQ.
Thank you to everyone who attended council meetings, lobbied councillors, gathered information, wrote submissions and donated money. This was a partial win despite the approval being given: it reduced six flights a day maximum to one a day. As this is not an all weather airstrip there were concerns that the majority of the flights would have been in the winter and the dry. Now this concentration of flights is no longer possible.
Other concerns about the planning process include the loss of submissions- council apparently failed to receive some submissions sent via this website and despite copies being forwarded by KRPG to council, these were not included. This denied these submitters the right to appeal against this planning decision in the courts.