Keep the Existing Runway and add a Curfew between 10pm and 6am
PBCA strongly opposes the closure of the existing runway and the development of a Freight Centre and unknown commercial and/or industrial activity in the Northern Precinct. The Safety Report on which the decision to close the existing runway relies needs to be released.
PBCA also requests SCA impose a curfew on all flights, other than emergencies, between 10pm and 6am
SUBMISSSION RE SUNSHINE COAST AIRPORT MASTERPLAN
I am writing on behalf of Peregian Beach Community Association in response to the release of the draft SCA Masterplan. The Association membership includes residents in Peregian Beach and Marcus Beach.
The document, whilst large with lots of graphics, disappointingly lacks substance. Much of the document is aspirational but not necessarily substantiated by supporting factual information.
A. INAPPROPRIATE AND UNJUSTIFIABLE DECISION TO CLOSE RUNWAY 18/36
The Masterplan indicates that this existing runway will now be closed as the aircraft that SCA proposes will use the new runway are too large to be parked in the area previously designated for this purpose and would result in obstruction of the new runway making it inoperable.
This conclusion is drawn from a Safety Report. That report needs to be made public so that the community can consider whether this decision is justifiable and the options that were available.
It appears from the information available that the decision is not justified and should be reversed. It is unclear who made the decision but as the airport is owned by the SC Council (and therefore the ratepayers) presumably the decision rests with them.
The basis of the decision appears to be flawed:
1. The aircraft that would cause the obstruction of the new runway (Code E aircraft) are not expected to operate at the airport for decades (if ever);
2. It seems unlikely that the “need” for closure of the runway was never considered until recently given its significance. It was not considered in earlier airport masterplans, the EIS or AEIS processes or the Coordinator General’s report.
3. Given the size of the land available at the airport it seems unlikely that alternate “parking area” for these Code E aircraft cannot be found.
4. Safety is given as the reason for closure however safety is a reason for not closing the runway. Access to a second runway in emergencies and at times when there is a cross wind (which occurs more frequently than has been suggested during consultations) would seem to be at least as, if not more, significant that the issue of parking Code E aircraft - an aircraft type not expected to use the airport for decades. There is also a safety issue with the location of the proposed Freight centre, apparently requiring the movement of freight across a live runway.
The impact of the decision is extensive:
1. It would represent the loss of a community owned asset of considerable worth, estimated at around $200m, for dubious reasons and with little justification and general lack of public discussion;
2. General aviation will need to use the new runway potentially causing significant delays which is contrary to their reasonable expectation for increased use of the existing runway once the new runway was operational;
3. The use of the new runway by General aviation will increase the noise experienced by those under the main flight paths rather than sharing the noise across the communities of the Sunshine Coast; and
4. The general aviation industry at the airport will suffer – a significant employer has already made the decision to move away causing the loss of around 200 jobs - jobs that are not construction, retail or hospitality. The decision is contrary to the SC Council’s Economic Plan and investment in attracting the high value general aviation industry to the SC Airport in order to diversify the economic base, including diversifying the employment available on the Coast.
PBCA requests the public release of the Safety Report.
PBCA strongly objects to the decision to close the existing runway and requests that the decision is reconsidered.
B. THE STATED ECONOMIC BENEFITS ARE ASPIRATIONAL AND NOT BACKED UP BY HARD DATA
The Draft Masterplan suggests the airport provides direct employment for 500 people – as there is no breakdown of the average hours employed the number 500 is not meaningful. Employment figures are usually given in terms of the equivalent full-time positions in order to allow comparisons.
The number of people employed by the remaining general aviation industry – now that a significant employer has made the decision to move away resulting in the loss of around 200 jobs – appears to be understated. We understand that there are substantially more people employed although these figures will alter if the proposed closure of the existing runway proceeds. 3
Additionally loss of aviation related jobs undermine SC Council’s stated aim to attract skilled jobs attractive to 18-36yo people to allow them to remain on the coast,
The information provided in the Masterplan is insufficient to assess the significance of the economic benefit to the region. There seem to be as many negatives as positives in the economic plan, eg
1. Significant economic loss resulting from loss of general aviation employment;
2. Contrary to the desire to diversify employment and the economic base the increase in employment appears likely to be mainly in retail and hospitality; and
3. The proposed freight centre, which the Masterplan indicates could include retail and accommodation will be in direct competition with the existing businesses on David Low Way and the impact of this is not considered and could well be negative.
PBCA requests SCA provide more robust data on the economic benefits that take account of projected growth, the impacts of closing the existing runway and impacts on nearby businesses.
C. FREIGHT CENTRE
The draft Masterplan does not justify the relocation of an expanded Freight Centre to the Northern precinct. It is unclear how, amongst other issues, the SC Airport could compete with Brisbane and Toowoomba airports and their freight arrangements.
This location is dependent on the closure of the existing runway which is also an unjustified decision.
The information provided appears to be aspirational – little hard data has been provided.
The proposed location on David Low Way is inappropriate because:
1. It requires the closure of the existing runway which PBCA strongly opposes;
2. It appears that the freight has to be moved from the Northern Precinct, across a live runway, to parked aircraft – an apparent safety issue and avoidable; and
3. Increase the pressure on David Low Way with large and heavy vehicles creating more noise and disturbance.
The draft Masterplan indicates that the Northern Precinct could also include retail and accommodation but not limited to these industries resulting in
1. Further congestion on DLW
2. Further disturbance to local residents
3. Further competition to local businesses
4. Uncertainty for residents about their future neighbourhood.
PBCA opposes the proposed location of the Freight Centre and expanded commercial or industrial activity in the Northern Precinct.
D. A CURFEW ENSURING FLIGHTS ARE LIMITED AT NIGHT IS REQUIRED
Residents under the main flight paths are very concerned about the impacts on their amenity of the new flight paths and the increasing number of flights. The concerns include the impact of flights between 10pm and 6am. As most Coast residents are in bed by 10pm (as evidenced by restaurant closures at 9pm and deserted town streets) a curfew from 10pm (rather than 11pm) is necessary.
Information provided to residents indicates that flight noise, even at what is described as relatively low levels can disturb sleep and disrupt TV and radio (as the sound cannot be heard above the noise of the aircraft).
To reduce this very significant impact on residents a curfew is required between 10pm and 6am for all aircraft other than emergency aircraft and in emergencies.
PBCA requests SC Airport to impose a curfew between 10pm and 6 am for all aircraft other than emergency aircraft and in emergencies
The draft SCA Masterplan raises very significant issues for local residents and the wider SC region. It is a document that despite 167 pages is sketchy on detail and factual information to support its proposed plans.
In particular PBCA strongly opposes the closure of the existing runway and the development of a Freight Centre and unknown commercial and/or industrial activity in the Northern Precinct.
PBCA requests the public release of the Safety Report on which the decision to close the existing runway relies.
PBCA also requests SCA to impose a curfew on all flights, other than emergencies, between 10pm and 6am
Peregian Beach Community Association Incorporated