The suggested flight paths that have the Cooroy community fearing the worst.
The suggested flight paths that have the Cooroy community fearing the worst.

Residents fear the worst over potential flight path

There are growing fears among Cooroy residents their local airspace may be used as alternative flight path approaches to the Sunshine Coast Airport's new runway.

Cooroy Area Residents Association understands residents living to the town's south are advocating to the Sunshine Coast Airport flight path changes post implementation review to send more flight approaches over the Cooroy hinterland.

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CARA president Rod Ritchie in a review submission said his group's concerns are based on an Airservices Australia image showing community submissions of either alternative or additional flight paths over Marcus Beach.

"The image shows red potential flights path crossing the Noosa hinterland to the east of Eumundi and the south of Cooroy," Mr Ritchie said.

Mr Ritchie said the hinterland typically has an ambient noise level as low as 25 decibels.

He said a 70dcb aircraft sounds "incredibly loud around Cooroy".

"This level of sound will affect us in many ways, psychologically and physically, including environmental and health impacts, our quality of sleep and our quality of life," Mr Ritchie said.

He said other community submissions have asked for an approach option further north over less populated areas.

The Sunshine Coast Airport flight path protests turns to Noosa hinterland.
The Sunshine Coast Airport flight path protests turns to Noosa hinterland.

This approach involves arriving aircraft tracking northwest of the runway and overflying, in a much wider arc east of Lake Macdonald, continuing between Eumundi and Verrierdale to Yandina Creek to line up with Runway 13.

"We are concerned that other communities to our south have lodged hundreds of comments/complaints, and the number of submissions is a measure of how little influence those in the hinterland have on any changes to the flight paths," he said.

"These are people living in quiet rural areas, reliant of rainwater collected from roofs," Mr Ritchie said.

CARA has asked for the review to consider the pollution risk and the impact on eco-tourism.

"Any reference to sharing traffic between different flight paths must not be based solely on the size of population, but rigorously include the impacts," he said.

"Some of the current Alliance Airlines jet aircraft currently flying over the hinterland and areas north of Noosa are unusually noisy.

"We request that noise monitoring and assessments start immediately in the hinterland as we are already heavily impacted."

CARA wants the review to investigate the use of continuous descent operations to minimise noise impact over hinterland by having the aircraft stay higher for longer.

Mr Ritchie said the review must also implement real-world noise monitoring across the region.

Airservices Australia said the community alternative flight paths submitted to the review will be further investigated for feasibility.

The Airservices review guidelines state until operations at the airport return to a stable level it is not possible to compile comprehensive feedback from the industry about the impacts and benefits of new flight paths.

The review also requires reliable data for noise modelling analysis based on actual aircraft movements or from short-term noise monitoring.

"As a result of the COVID-19 impacts on aircraft movements, this analysis period could be delayed by six to 12 months while the aviation industry recovers and commences return to "normal" operations," the Airservices website said.


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