Residents of Mission Beach are calling for the council to listen to the people and deny approval of a proposed aviation facility being located in the centre of their quiet tourism town.
Almost 200 concerned Mission Beach residents gathered at the village Progress Hall early this afternoon to express their concern that the CCRC councilors have not listened to the community when recommending the approval of a Material Change of Use (MCU) for an Aviation Facility on agricultural land.
The community hall spilled beyond capacity as residents queued at the 'sign in' waiting to hear more about a proposed development they say will threaten their peaceful lifestyle and the towns tourist appeal.
Biologist Nigel Tucker highlighted the high environmental values and importance to cassowaries of the habitat around and through the proposed development site.
Nigel, who has carried out studies of the coastal lowland habitat surrounding the proposed development site over the the last 40 years, questioned why there had not been any State or Federal Environment Department involvement in the assessment process.
Peter Rowles from C4 outlined the details of the proposed aviation facility and the impact it would have on the sensitive environment, the residents and township of Mission Beach.
Peter encourages the Cassowary Coast Regional Council to work with the proponent to find a more suitable location for the development.
Liz Gallie of Mission Beach Cassowaries said “There is more protection in the Planning Scheme for Art Deco architecture than there is for the cassowary at Mission Beach”. Liz is calling for a Master Plan to identify and protect the intrinsic values of Mission Beach during the revision of the Planning Scheme.
Liz questions the local council’s Development Incentive Plan which she said appears to allow any development at any location despite inconsistencies with the Planning Scheme. “The council is not listening to the people". said Liz. "Inappropriate development is impacting on the character of beautiful Mission Beach" Liz continued, “We are losing ‘the magic’ and along with it our sense of community identity”
Award winning exotic fruit farmer and Fruit Forest Farm tourism operator, Peter Salleras said it is crucial agricultural land is not developed, denying future possibilities of food production.
Peter who is a third generation local farmer showcased his highly successful farm tourism business as an example of how diversification and a boutique approach to farm practices is an alternative to traditional approaches to rural land use.
Peter said "The current process doesn't value small areas for food production. We must get away from the idea that we can only grow sugar and cavendish bananas. They are low value broad acre crops".
Peter also questioned why the councillors did not attend the meeting. "Decisions are being made that have a big impact on 'our place' that don't involve the community" said Peter. "Over time we have witnessed destruction of some of the unique features of our area such as the canopy licuala forest drive at the entrance to Mission Beach"
"Increased air noise pollution from skydiving activities is already impacting on our quiet lifestyles" Peter said." It would be an idiotic decision to put a helicopter aviation facility at the proposed location. "This place is too good to waste on stupidity like this" said Peter, "If we don't stand up now we will definitely regret it".
The community is questioning why the council would consider approval of a high impact industrial development in the middle of a tourist destination reliant on its reputation as a quiet peaceful village.
“If an industrial helicopter business is allowed to go ahead at the current location it will mean the beginning of the industrialization of Mission Beach, the end of our peace and quiet and visitors who come to Mission for a relaxing holiday" said Liz.
Councilors were invited to the meeting to listen to the communities concerns but declined saying they were unable to attend any meetings held by opponents or proponents due to the fact the matter is currently before council.
A website has been launched as part of a campaign against a material change of use from agricultural land for a high impact industrial development in the heart of Mission Beach.
More information can be found on www.aviation-facility.weebly.com
Liz Gallie 0414 402 315
Peter Rowles 0429 179 152
Peter Salleras 0429 194 710
Cassowary Coast Regional Council Mayor Mark Nolan 0400 440 837