The Range News is Maleny's premium Weekly Newspaper delivered each Friday
to the People of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland from Glasshouse to
Kenilworth and west to Peachester.

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 Taskforce to consider
helicopter complaints

by Elise Martin

A recent anti-helicopter meeting in Beerwah was attended by about 260 people and showed 100 percent opposition from local residents to the proposed Australia Zoo flights, according to meeting organiser John Weeks.

WIYAL Taskforce Chairman Suzelie Connelly said the taskforce would consider the community’s comments to help refine the application before it was made.  “Following the phone calls and meetings we have held to date, we are now aware of issues that we had identified and others that have been raised with us and we will consider all feedback.”

Mr Weeks said the residents appreciated the attendance of Division Ten Councillor Greg Singh, Division Eight Councillor Betty Christaudo and Labor’s Federal Candidate for Longman, Stephen Beckett at the meeting.  Mr Weeks said the meeting addressed various local and other governmental departments’ roles, possible damage to the breeding/feeding habits of the rare peregrine falcon and other raptors/animals, noise, intrusion, disruption of the unique character of the area, property valuation losses and damage to fauna and flora.

Mr Weeks said traditional owner/elder and spokesperson for the Jinabara people Ken Murphy also discussed the Jinabara people’s native title claim over the Glasshouse Mountains.

But Ms Connelly said the Jinabara people did not have a claim over Australia Zoo’s land.  “Dr Eve Fesl is the only registered native title claimant for land in the vicinity of Australia Zoo,” she said.

“ We sought government advice as to the appropriate consultation process and Dr Fesl was recommended to us.  “The helipad is on land owned by Australia Zoo and the application is for landing and take-off.

“The application is not for the flights, which will be in unrestricted air space.”  Meanwhile, Beerwah Motor Lodge owner Mike James said discussions about the flights needed to be rational.  “There has been a lot of emotional outpouring,’’ he said. “This is the fastest growing tourist area, and Australia Zoo has made Beerwah famous.

“ It won’t go away. Tourism is going to grow. In this tourist area the Zoo creates work and makes money for the area.”  Ms Connelly said community members were welcome to provide input and become involved in the consultative process.

“The WIYAL Taskforce has advertised for people to participate in the consultation and has held meetings with locals,” she said.  “ We sought and have welcomed community input into aspects such as flight path and altitude.  “More briefing and feedback sessions will be held.  People will then have the facts and can make an informed decision.”.

Our thanks once again to Cameron & Tanya Outridge
of the Range News Newspaper for this story.