- Friday 19 April 2019
Sunshine Coast Council notes the irresponsible resolution of Noosa Shire Council made late on Thursday night (April 18) prior to the Easter break.
Council also notes that Noosa Shire Councillors made this decision after receiving a report from their own officers acknowledging there would be minimal impact on Noosa Shire from the proposed airspace and flight paths design for the new runway at the Sunshine Coast Airport.
This decision was also made after Mayor Jamieson had briefed Mayor Wellington some weeks ago and Noosa Councillors were briefed on two occasions recently by the Airport expansion Project Manager on the minimal implications for Noosa Shire and the extensive additional cost to the project if the current consultation period is extended.
Sunshine Coast Council is confident the environmental impacts associated with the project have been rigorously assessed through the development of the EIS for this project and that the community was consulted extensively over a three year period from 2012 until late 2015. The EIS was subsequently endorsed by the relevant state and federal government departments and the project is now well underway and is being delivered in accordance with the approvals obtained through due process.
Sunshine Coast Council will not be dictated to by Noosa Shire Council or support its proposals. It is also important to note that neither Sunshine Coast Council nor Noosa Shire Council have any jurisdiction on the regulation of flight paths or airspace design.
The Noosa Shire derives significant economic benefit from the Sunshine Coast Airport - given the Noosa economy’s substantial reliance on tourism. Yet its Council has never seen fit to offer any support for the Airport expansion project. The reality is that Noosa Shire Council is happy to sit back and attempt to frustrate or oppose the project - but does so in the full knowledge that the project will proceed and as a result, Noosa Shire will derive an increased economic benefit as the flight routes accessing the Airport expand.
Sunshine Coast Council will not support any of the requests from Noosa Shire Council for the following reasons:
- The Sunshine Coast Airport expansion project - including the proposed flight paths - have been the subject of extensive community engagement since the EIS process commenced in 2012, including two major public consultation and submission periods in 2014 and 2015 on the draft EIS and amendments to the draft EIS. The EIS was one of the most comprehensive assessments for any project in the history of this region and resulted in all necessary approvals being granted for this project. Council will not see the project delayed or frustrated, given substantial opportunities have existed to date for residents across the Sunshine Coast region and the Noosa Shire to make comments on the project.
- There is minimal change in the proposed airspace and flight paths design developed by Airservices Australia to that which appeared in the EIS. The EIS clearly showed a flight path that crosses the coastline near Marcus Beach and Castaways Beach and overflying Lake Weyba.
- Council considers that a feedback period of six weeks is more than adequate to enable residents to consider the impacts of the very minor changes to the flight paths that have been proposed by Airservices Australia, given the extensive community engagement opportunities that have occurred since 2012. Advice from Airservices Australia is that to extend this period would result in the approvals from CASA for the new flight paths being delayed by up to six months. This would delay the commissioning of the new runway - a delay which is estimated to cost the project at least $10 million. Sunshine Coast Council is not prepared to expose its ratepayers to this unnecessary cost when the Noosa Shire residents have had many opportunities to express their views - and can continue to make a submission to Airservices Australia on the proposed airspace and flight path design up until 30 April 2019.
Sunshine Coast Council also questions the integrity of the Noosa Shire Council in seeking to encourage Federal Members of Parliament to seek to influence what is a statutory process conducted by an independent authority.