News

Chopper boss won't sign fly neighbourly agreement

MIKE Becker is sticking to his guns and says Becker Helicopters will continue to fly over the Fraser Coast because "no one can stop me".

More details have emerged about June's helicopter saga, in which councillor Darren Everard moved a motion against the chopper business establishing a training base in Hervey Bay.

The motion was moved after complaints were made to councillors right across the Fraser Coast about the of helicopters' loud noise late at night.

Because of federal airspace, Becker's helicopters are able to fly over the region whenever they please.

The fly neighbourly agreement is a voluntary paper signed between pilots and councils about flight times and paths.

A defiant and annoyed Mr Becker said he was in the middle of discussing an agreement in June before the council shut the door.

He created and edited an agreement which the council endorsed, but refused to sign it after their "knee-jerk reaction".

"Why would you have a fly neighbourly agreement for somewhere where you can't go," he said.

"We're still going to Hervey Bay, still doing our thing.

"No one can stop me going there."

But Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell respected Mr Becker's decision not to sign the agreement.

"I would have preferred if he did but I understand his frustration and why he didn't," he said.

"I don't think Mike Becker or his business should be demonised in any of this discussion."

Cr O'Connell described the situation as water under the bridge.

Mr Becker was furious with some councillors that he had wasted time and money trying to invest in the Fraser Coast.

"I spent all this money on tender documents for land, I've done all this stuff and I've done what you've asked, and now you tell me we can't come here and you still want me to sign a fly neighbourly agreement," he said.

"We were happy to have some form of fly neighbourly agreement."

Mr Becker said some local people rang "certain councillors" who didn't' "have the fortitude to tell them what's going on".

He said even if the council reversed its decision on banning helicopter training schools, he still wouldn't invest in the region because it was to volatile.

Topics:  aviation, becker helicopter, fraser coast regional council, gerard o'connell



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