Talks to clear air over Tyabb

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AN uneasy truce was in place over the Tyabb Airfield dispute last week in the lead-up to a meeting between the Mornington Peninsula Shire CEO John Baker and Peninsula Aero Club president Jack Vevers.

The meeting, scheduled for yesterday (Monday 17 June), comes after the warring parties sought common ground in their row over missing or non-existent permits and contentious flying hours.

The mayor Cr David Gill said on Friday that there could be issues such as workers’ compensation insurance if businesses were operating at the airfield without permits.

The aero club was stunned when the council issued a stop-work order, Monday 3 June, saying it was unable to find permits issued subsequent to the original 1965 permit which gave the 55-year-old club the right to operate. (“Shire’s order grounds airfield” The News 12/6/19).

Mr Vevers slammed the ban saying it put 100 jobs and vital emergency services at risk and grounded the club’s 550 members.

Early last week the council in a statement said it acknowledged that over the years the level of activity at the airfield had increased and the surrounding population grown.

The council said it had “attempted to work with the … Peninsula Aero Club for more than a decade to modernise the relevant planning approvals that exist on the site”.

It said it had “advised the club and other landowners and businesses in the precinct that there aren’t any existing planning approvals and there is a need to follow due process and comply with the planning scheme”.

“We encourage and will work with all businesses across the shire to ensure they comply with the planning scheme so they can operate legally and successfully,” the statement said.

“Council are ultimately seeking the preparation and approval of an agreed airfield master plan and noise management plan covering all aspects of the current and future operations, and linked to updated planning permit approvals for the precinct.”

Mr Vevers said on Thursday the shire’s Mr Baker had “reached out to start discussions”.

“I am really pleased about that. It’s what should have happened in the first place. There are no egos in this. We want to get people back to work.”

The meeting comes as a shire-appointed Queen’s Counsel conducts a “full legal review, in order to provide clear information … regarding the conditions of all current planning permits currently applying to the Tyabb Airfield”. The report has a 30 June deadline.

First published in the Mornington News – 18 June 2019

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