Meeting overflows as flight path fears draw huge response
FLIGHT path fears have drawn hundreds of residents to a public meeting where dissatisfaction with new routes was clear to see.
Their concerns centred on jet planes flying regularly over Peregian Beach, Marcus Beach and nearby hinterland homes at 3000 feet (914.4m) as they approached the new Sunshine Coast Airport runway from Sydney and Melbourne.
Peregian Beach residents Bruce Mouland and Julia Vail said they only became aware of plans to send increased air traffic over their town a few weeks ago.
"We are just getting information about it because it seems like a bit of a sneaky trick by Sunshine Coast Council," Mr Mouland said.
"The whole flight path thing was released really late."
He said he had not been aware of an environmental impact statement consultation process previously conducted.
"That's the under-handed part of it."
He was surprised to see the Peregian Beach Community House overflowing with people at Saturday afternoon's meeting.
"It's a huge community concern.
"I reckon people feel ripped off.
"For this many people to fire up it has got to say something."
Marcus Beach resident and former Sunshine Coast councillor Vivien Griffin ran through a number issues raised with the route, including a lack of public consultation before Airservices Australia designated it.
"It (consultation) has been appalling and it must be redone," Ms Griffin said.
"This is very much about saving money for the aircraft companies and it is not following the principles Airservices Australia is supposed to follow."
She also highlighted the impacts of aircraft using a route which had initially been deemed a secondary option.
"This is a fundamental change and we need to be jumping up and down saying 'not good enough, go back to the drawing board'."
Her words brought applause and cheers from the crowd.
Some community members with extensive aviation experience gave their feedback on the coastal flight path and suggested an approach from the south-west would instead be a better option.
Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion project director Ross Ullman, who is employed by Sunshine Coast Council, was a guest at the meeting.
He had agreed to attend after being invited at late notice.
Mr Ullman answered questions from the crowd, telling them the flight paths had been put together by a consultant.
He said Sunshine Coast Council had not dictated what the flight paths looked like in any way.
Afterwards, Mr Ullman said the main message he took away from the meeting was that people had done their homework to understand the issues that concerned them.
He noted the looming deadline for public submissions on the flight paths and urged residents to make their concerns heard.
"It is clear that the message has reached far and wide in the local community and now it is imperative that they get their submissions in to Air Services Australia by 5pm Tuesday," Mr Ullman said.