Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Whitsunday council
TWO new drones will take to the skies after the Whitsunday Regional Council purchased the technology to help with compliance inspections of properties across the region, among many other high-flying activities.
The council has been using a small drone since 2018 for a number of activities including weed mapping and management, erosion mapping and inspection work.
Recently, the council purchased two larger drones using $108,000 in Safer Communities funding, which will enable them to expand their scope for taking aerial snapshots.
Council’s director of corporate services Jason Bradshaw said drones could soon be used in areas such as pool compliance inspections, asset management and disaster response.
However, Mr Bradshaw said strict measures were in place to ensure residents’ privacy would be protected.
“Currently, drones have been used for building compliance inspections. The process for pool compliance would be similar,” he said.
“Firstly, drone use for compliance inspections must be authorised as being appropriate by the director for that area.
“Then, authorisation and permission are obtained from the property owner.
“Images obtained from the drone flight are stored securely and privately on the council network.
“They are not released to the public, although they could be applied for under the (right to information and freedom of information) legislation.
“All such applications are assessed by the governance section to ensure that they are legal and appropriate.”
There are also several checks and balances in place when operating a drone to ensure it is only flown within an approved area.
Mr Bradshaw said widespread pool compliance audits were unlikely, however if the council deemed them necessary then residents would be issued notice prior to the audit.
The benefits of drone technology listed by Mr Bradshaw included its affordability, increased efficiency from reduced hours involved in routine surveillance and increased accuracy of data.
The council’s use of drones has also been projected to increase the quality, quantity and speed that information is available for decision makers and allow for the monitoring of assets that emit electromagnetic radiation, such as powerlines, without disrupting supply.