News

Council bans chopper training in Bay and M'boro

UPDATE: Councillors have voted 7-3 to stop helicopter flight training schools using Hervey Bay and Maryborough Airports.

Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the motion to exclude chopper training schools from using the airports was approved by councillors in a confidential session of Wednesday's Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting in Maryborough.

The Mayor and councillors Daniel Sanderson and Robert Garland opposed the motion.

Councillor Stuart Taylor was absent from the meeting.

EARLIER UPDATE: The motion to remove helicopter flight training from the council's aviation plan has been moved to the confidential section of the meeting.

This means the councillors' discussion of the issue will take place in private behind closed doors.

EARLIER: A motion to ban helicopter flight training schools using Hervey Bay and Maryborough Airports is expected to be voted on by the council on Wednesday.

It's anticipated councillor Darren Everard will move a motion to amend Fraser Coast Regional Council's aviation plan.

His motion is to amend the current Airport Strategic Plan, Airport Master Plan and the Avion documentation to "explicitly exclude the use of the Hervey Bay and Maryborough Airports for helicopter flight training schools".

Wondunna resident Mike Brown said the helicopters were flying over his home for about two hours on Monday night.

"It's going to drive everybody from their homes," he said.

"The noise was just unbelievable - it's like being in a bloody war zone.

"The residents of Hervey Bay cannot live with that - that's madness."

It is believed the helicopters are from a training school on the Sunshine Coast, but use Hervey Bay and Maryborough Airports for take-off and landing exercises.

After the Chronicle's story about the noise, more residents came forward with their complaints.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Gerard O'Connell announced he would work with government agencies to reduce the community impact.

"Council regulates the ground services and CASA, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, is in charge of overseeing safety and Airservices is in charge of monitoring noise complaints," he said.

"Council will talk with the operator with a view to developing a fly neighbourly agreement in a bid to reduce the noise impacts on residents."

Local woman Karen Howlett, who has also been affected by the noise, has taken to Facebook to start a petition against it.

Topics:  fraser coast, helicopters, hervey bay airport, noise



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