Calls to curb flight growth
HALTING expansion of the Gold Coast Airport was just one of the suggestions made by residents at an extraordinary Community Aviation Consultation Group meeting on Wednesday morning.
Chris Thompson of Casuarina joined about 300 other people at Twin Towns Services Club where figures presented showed a 134% increase in flights per day over 10 years set against a national increase of 27%.Ms Thompson accepted that government-controlled Airservices' role was to simply control flight paths for and receive complaints about air traffic, before speaking.
"Redistribution of flight paths is not going to solve the problem," she said.
"What we need to do as a community is make sure we can halt the growth of this airport.
"Who should we lobby to halt the growth of this airport?"
Department of Infrastructure and Transport airports general manager Leonie Horrocks said the Federal Government required airports to generate a master plan every five years, with a 20 year vision.
She did not answer Ms Thompson's question but assured the crowd the airport had not deviated from its requirement to "grow their operations in balance with commercial developments".
"There isn't a mechanism that I'm aware of which halts an airport's growth," Ms Horrocks said.
"It's a balancing act between keeping the business growing and keeping the community concerns to the forefront."
Airport CEO Paul Donovan said from 2006-2011 the airport had respected its "mandate" to grow.
"We are operating within the current master plan.
"You can shout and scream all you like, but that is a fact."
He said his team, the department and its Minister Anthony Albanese took concerns seriously.
Bill, a Kingscliff resident of 11 years, said a "black substance" for which he could discover no cause covered his home under a flight path.
He said he once lived at another coastal location on Stradbroke Island and did not experience the same problem.
"I can clean it off with a grease melting detergent, but two weeks later it's back again," he said.
"We can only assume it is coming from jet engines.
"If it's doing that to our environment and our homes, what's it doing to our lungs?"
George from Oxley Cove said he too was concerned about the future.
"We're to expect three times the noise and emissions that we're currently facing," he said.
"And we're told it's a balancing act.
"There's 30,000 Tweed residents involved that are heavily weighed down on the scales.
"This balancing act - you can understand why the people of Chinderah, Kingscliff, Fingal, Banora Point and Oxley are thinking 'You've got to be kidding'."
Airservices directs a majority of departures to the south because of prevailing winds planes need to take off into.
Whichever flight path they take after that will cross over Tweed homes, so the solution as Ms Thompson suggested is not where flights pass but how many flights there are.