A NOOSA councillor believes the new Sunshine Coast Draft Planning Scheme lays bare council's ongoing ambition to expand commercial aircraft activity on Noosa North Shore.
Division 12 Councillor Tony Wellington claims he and fellow Noosa representative Russell Green have been fighting behind the scenes to counter council efforts to pave the way for greater use of Teewah Airstrip.
Cr Wellington said in the final stages of the draft the Noosa councillors discovered the Noosa Plan zoning for the Teewah site had been changed from "open space conservation" to "community facilities zone".
"This would apply the same zoning as afforded to the Sunshine Coast Airport and also Caloundra Aerodrome," Cr Wellington said.
"With the support of Cr Green, I fought to have the zoning of the Teewah Airstrip changed back to 'environment management and conservation zone' - the new equivalent of the former open space conservation. In the end, after a somewhat heated debate, Cr Green and I managed to get the zoning altered from community facilities to conservation, but that is far from the end of the matter."
He said the strategic framework maps in the new draft planning scheme still contained references to Teewah Airstrip which afford it the same priority as Caloundra Aerodrome and Sunshine Coast Airport.
"In other words, the supporting documents, almost all of which are beyond the grasp of most people, reinforce the intention to expand the use of Teewah Airstrip under council's aviation policy," Cr Wellington said.
"If the draft planning scheme identifies Teewah Airstrip as having all-of-Coast economic and transport functions, then many Noosa residents have much to fear from this aspect of the scheme.
"I will be fighting to have the draft planning scheme altered to prevent Noosa being subjected to an increasingly busy airport on the North Shore."
Cr Wellington said the council maintained a policy to grow the aviation sector on the Sunshine Coast with Teewah Airstrip identified as an essential ingredient in that ambition.
"As one of the senior staff wrote to me: 'One of the nominated activities for expansion (of the aviation sector) is training and Teewah/Noosa North Shore Airstrip is accommodating that initiative'."
Cr Wellington said at the September ordinary council meeting his motion to reduce the use of the airstrip by commercial helicopter training businesses was "soundly defeated" in a 3-10 vote.
"It is absolutely clear that the use of the old airstrip for pilot training, particularly by helicopters, is seriously impacting on the amenity of many Noosa residents. I therefore urge all concerned citizens to make submissions to council on this aspect of the draft planning scheme."
Council planning spokesman Warren Bunker said three separate coloured symbols had been used to highlight the differentiation between the functions of Sunshine Coast Airport (an airport), Caloundra Aerodrome (an aerodrome) and Teewah Airstrip (an airstrip).
"The zoning for Teewah Airstrip is identified in the draft planning scheme as environmental management and conservation zone which makes a future proposal to upgrade this airstrip to an airport an inconsistent use.
"However if residents or groups are concerned about whether these items are insufficient to differentiate Teewah Airstrip from a commercial aerodrome or airport they are encouraged to make a submission to council."
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