Over 200 residents met at 10am 15th January for an update on a proposed aviation facility they say will destroy their lifestyle and sense of place.
A strong message was reaffirmed among those who attended that there is a community expectation for the council to make decisions in the public interest. For Mission Beach residents the things that mold their sense of identity are the quiet, peaceful village atmosphere, the exceptional natural environment and the cassowary. They claim the proposed development would have an unacceptable impact on all of those things. The Planning Scheme fails to protect the values the community say are the reasons they live at Mission Beach.
ABC TV reporter Jemima Burt was there to cover the story.
Liz Gallie from Mission Beach Cassowaries, Peter Rowles of C4, and award winning tourism operator of Epic private Journeys, Pedro O'Connor addressed the crowd gathered at Miter Street, located close to the proposed heliport flight path.
The crowd acknowledged and welcomed the attendance of The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Barry Barnes.
Peter Rowles impressed on the crowd the importance of using the Planning scheme to guide the future by avoiding incompatible land uses and the importance of low impact eco based tourism at Mission Beach.
Pedro O'Connor said a helicopter facility would destroy tourism potential at Mission Beach adding Mission Beach has not been set up for high end tourism instead known as a low key boutique destination.
The community believes they are being bamboozled by the conflicting claims and say they cannot trust what is being said by the proponent or the planning department.
The following is quoted from the DA lodged in February 2020 (the basis of the public consultation),
"Specifically, the applicant proposes to develop an Aviation Facility at the subject site for the purpose of providing passenger transport inclusive of island connections from the region’s major airports (Cairns and Townsville) to support the local tourism sector. Associated uses including medical transfers, aerial firefighting and search and rescue operations will also be undertaken on an as required basis.
It also states the proposal is for air services used for any of the following :
The following is from the Planning Report released on 7th December recommending approval, "Furthermore, the applicant has confirmed that the majority of the helicopters proposed to be stationed at this aviation facility are not proposed to be used for “joy flights”. The type of helicopters proposed are highly specialised multi-role helicopters and provide a range of services including aerial firefighting, heavy-lift and aerial crane, and reconnaissance missions. There is a direct linkage between the specialist nature of these helicopters, and the high cost of operation, the number of movements will generally be lower than what would be expected from a tourism operation".
The report claims the proposal is lower impact by excluding tourism operations
The Planners report also claims agricultural activities can continue on the lot as the development footprint is only 1.27% of the overall site. Yet the proponents plan shows approximately a third of the lot is allocated for air services and the rest of the lot designated for future development.
A report commissioned by Mission Beach Cassowaries and C4, made available to the CCRC, confirms the development will have a significant impact on the endangered cassowary.
Based on community expectation and the environmental report alone, the development should be refused.
At the very least, the CCRC decision must be deferred until there has been:
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This website is managed by Mission Beach Cassowaries inc to share information about the No Helicopters Here campaign against the approval of A HELICOPTER BASE on 2224 Tully Mission Beach Road.
Court appeal chronology
28th February 2022.
C4 entered into a compromise settlement with Mission Helicopters. The appeal did not proceed to a court hearing.
3rd December 2021
The appeal was reviewed. Judge Morzone ordered (above) the appellant (C4) to provide a list of matters they wish to be considered for inclusion in the proposed conditions attached to any approval of the development application.
3rd September 2021
Order (above) made by his Honour Judge Morzone QC.
Appeal review listed for 3 December 2021
6th August 2021
Court ordered MH to respond to C4 correspondence by August 15th. Appeal review listed for 3rd September.
3rd June 2021
Grounds on which Mission Helicopters, as co respondent , defended the appeal .
5th Mar 2021
C4 filed to appeal the Heliport approval decision