Bega District Letters to the Editor, November 7

Julie and Gavin Martin on the recent Bega to Pambula Remembrance Ride as part of Mental Health Month.

Julie and Gavin Martin on the recent Bega to Pambula Remembrance Ride as part of Mental Health Month.

Disastrous proposal

The proposed “Frogs Hollow Chinese Flying School” is a disastrous proposal, it will impact massively on the rural amenity of the entire Bega Valley, not just the area around Frogs Hollow. The entire region will suffer from persistent aircraft noise from an endless stream of buzzing training aircraft doing relentless low level circuit training seven days a week. 

The major loss of amenity from this crazy get rich quick scheme will destroy the very reason why people live here - peace and tranquility.  We live in a beautiful, quiet, gentle place and insistently buzzing aircraft with fuel and exhaust stink will do nothing for it.  Such development is totally unsuitable for a rural shire; it will impact heavily on house and land values, ruin the clean green image of Bega Cheese and other produce, and significantly damage our tourism industry which is based on the serenity of the district.  This development will deter the desire build a life in this beautiful part of the world, which is where future economic growth lies.  Peace and quiet sets us apart from anywhere else. 

The developers’ claims of creating 200 jobs are spurious overselling and marking guff.  The new Kempsey Chinese Flying School, which is a much larger development, is up and running and only employs a total of 34 staff for a commercial licence program.  The proposed Mareeba Chinese Flying School in Far North Queensland has similar staffing projections.  Australia has over 160 flying schools already. How does this school intend to attract a further 360 Chinese students every three months to train for a recreational pilots licence that is not even valid outside Australia? 

Flying schools are considered a slim margin business at the best of times; on average of 80 per cent of students do not complete training.  A total reliance on Chinese students leaves the Frogs Hollow School at the whim of the Australian dollar value, If the dollars goes up, clients stop coming.  Long term and sustainable jobs? I think not – a few developers make a quick buck and Bega Valley residents have to live with the fall out (pun intended).  

Bega Valley Shire Development Control Plan clearly states: “This plan seeks to ensure that rural living and agricultural operations will continue as key land uses across the Bega Valley Shire”.  This airport development is totally at odds with this objective and should be rejected.  I urge all Bega Valley residents to contact the council and voice your concerns over this disastrous development application before it is too late.

Steve Jackson

Don’t be fooled

As per front page and two full pages (BDN, 27/10) regarding the new Development Application sought by Sports Aviation Australia - SAA. 

The concept of housing/training up too 200 Chinese trainee pilots and not open to Australians seeking entry into to the aviation industry sickens me. SAA obviously has no regard for the numerous surrounding residents in Wolumla, Bega etc. Constant take offs and landings day/night, unbearable noise, crash risk, risk on the Princes Hwy.

I have undertaken flight training at Moorabbin Airport (Melbourne), so I fully understand the implications of this abhorrent proposal for our generally peaceful part of Australia. 

One major aspect of flight training is to grasp the procedure of take off and landing, of which student pilots carry out constant circuits of take offs, circling,  preparing to land, touch down on runway, take off again, performing this practice many times over. The other massive blow for residents over a large area of Frogs Hollow will be when student pilots begin the component of night flying (instrument flying), of which the same noise and high risk factors come into place at night or low light conditions.

The idea of creating numerous local jobs is questionable, as generally Chinese enterprises in Australia import their products etc and no doubt labour also. The face of SAA is just another attempt to have DA approved by purporting to be a great boon for Australians, but quite the opposite, as it will be closed doors for Australians.

With all due respect for SAA, lodge your DA at regional or city airports and not change drastically the quiet way of life here in the Bega Valley, most of all, the inevitable devaluation of all neighbouring properties.

Residents, don't be fooled or intimidated by the clause in the BDN stating that “deposit paid and contracts exchanged” means nothing if the DA is rejected. Make your voices heard before too late and your lives change to your detriment.

Gerry Theodorakis, Brogo