Plans for a Helicopter base in the ‘wilderness heart of Mission Beach’ has gained the ire of residents.
Mission Beach Helicopters owned by pilot Ray Cronin of Victorian Kestrel Aviation has lodged a development application to establish an aviation facility on a vacant block of land separating the villages of Wongaling and Mission Beach.
Residents are calling for the Cassowary Coast Regional Council to listen to the community and deny the proposal because it will destroy the peace and quiet they moved to Mission Beach to enjoy.
The community is questioning the Planner’s report description of the proposal as 'low impact' when Mission Helicopters confirmed “Most of the helicopters to be stationed at the proposed facility are highly specialised multi-role craft capable of aerial firefighting, heavy-lift and aerial crane, and reconnaissance missions”.
The Planner’s report also claims that restricting the hours of operation from between 6am to 6pm 7 days a week will minimise the impact.
Many in the community disagree. The council received 55 submissions against the proposal in response to the DA and a petition has reached 570 signatures.
The flight path is planned to go over a large block of coastal rainforest much of which is under Traditional Owner native title. John said “It is an insult to the Djiru people that they have not been considered”
Liz Gallie of Mission Beach Cassowaries said the impact couldn’t be higher for the cassowary. “There is a cassowary corridor through the middle of the lot and immediately adjacent to the proposed landing pad”. Liz said “There are regular cassowary sightings at the corridor and we have seen how cassowaries react to helicopters flying overhead”.
“The Cassowary Coast Planning Scheme overlays show the habitat surrounding the proposed site and beneath the planned flight path mapped as cassowary habitat and corridors” said Liz.
“One of the corridors includes Lot 66 which the Federal Government saved from development in 2010 because of the impact it would have on the endangered cassowary” said Liz “And now this! It makes us wonder if the Planning Scheme actually protects anything at Mission Beach”.
The community has launched a campaign against the development calling for the council to not allow the proposal at the proposed location claiming there are facilities within the Cassowary Coast already designated for aviation services and able to expand.
Peter Rowles from C4 commented “We encourage the Council to talk with Kestrel Aviation about locating the facility to a more appropriate place to provide a real benefit to the region”. “The current proposed location would have a high impact on the community and environment”. said Peter. “The Council needs to acknowledge the long-term importance of Planning Schemes and not allow ad hoc changes”.
More information about the heliport proposal and community response will be available at a community meeting on Sunday 20 December 1pm after the markets in Ulysses Park, Mission Beach.
Mission Beach Cassowaries
0414 402 315
0429 179 152