Presidents Report

Dear Members,

As we approach Christmas I have reflected on what a year we have all had. I am pleased to say that PAC has weathered the COVID storm as well as the Shire’s legal attacks. I am optimistic about our prospects to come out of these events in good shape. However we cannot be complacent about COVID and must keep our guard up and make our Club a safe place to be.

Over the past month we have been in VCAT objecting to the proposed Lifestyle development, where the developer is proposing to build 191 dwellings to accommodate an estimated 311 residents. This is a development that would ordinarily not be permitted under the zoning but for a loophole that has allowed this to be proposed.

Almost all of the town is opposed to this development as is PAC, as it will completely change the character and intent of the low density of Tyabb and more so the country lane part of Stuart Road. This development will put a lot of stress on the town amenity, cause complaints about the airport and make the residents lives miserable living between an airport and a heavy rail line when trying to enjoy a retired outdoor life style.

On the last day of VCAT the CFA made a late submission to the Tribunal, raising significant bush fire concerns. This has the potential to undermine the developers’ plans as being unsafe and the hearing has now been delayed until May 2021. Let’s hope this and all of our arguments by PAC and the town will be enough for VCAT to disallow the development.

Christmas is almost upon us and we are thinking about fly-aways and going on holidays. As many of us have been out of the air we need to double check everything and ensure we and our aircraft are fit for flight. If you are feeling a little rusty, why not book a check flight with one of our instructors to polish up your competences or just have a chat with our CFI about your plans.

And please be mindful not to put yourself under pressure to be somewhere at a planned time. Take your time, and enjoy the day on the ground if the weather isn’t within your capabilities or endorsements.

On behalf of the Committee, Flight Ops and myself, have a wonderful and safe Christmas and New Year.

Kind regards
Jack

Presidents Report

Dear Members,

A win in VCAT

After 14 months of preparing and fighting our case in VCAT we have won the Church Hour Existing Use Rights application despite the Shire obstinance and relentless attacks on PAC through the media.

VCAT have ordered the Shire to delete the “Church Hour” condition from our permits, which will allow us to fly on Sundays between 0930 & 1030 as we have done for decades. The order has also provided an opportunity to pursue costs, which we intend to do.

The VCAT decision states, “In the present case the permits in place indicate the use was being lawfully carried out …”.  This would seem to negate all of the Shire’s claims that we have no permits, or that we are operating unlawfully.

We hope the Shire will reconsider its attacks and think about how much all of these actions are costing ratepayers as well as the damage this is doing to their reputation.

Online Training

This month we have introduced a BAK on line training course, which had sold out within the week. COVID has made us reflect on what we can do to help members continue to develop our skills and keep us occupied and up to date with training.

Over the next few months we are working on developing a number of courses for endorsements such as Tailwheel, Formation and Aerobatics. We are also developing a GPS course, night VFR and Flying Instructor rating programmes.

Our world has changed and we need to adapt.  Our instructors are very excited to bring everyone a new and exciting way to develop our skills.

We are also working on developing some on line learning opportunities and bring CASA safety presentations and guest speakers.

AGM

Our AGM is not far away and we need to ask members to think about paying it forward and joining the committee. We always need people with enthusiasm and skills to help manage the club and continue to build upon what others have done before us.

Our club is, in my mind, the best in Australia, not only for our members but our relationship with the community. We need new blood and enthusiasm to join a successful and cohesive management committee to help drive the club into the 2020s and beyond.

If you feel you have the something to bring to the club and have a sense of duty and community please nominate. If you would like to know more feel free to give me or anyone on the committee a call.

Lastly it is becoming clear this AGM will need to be conducted via Zoom this year owing to the COVID restrictions, which is disappointing but as you will understand is completely sensible.

We will be sending separate notification of AGM details, and a call for Committee nominations and, especially important this year, proxy nominations, as soon as arrangements can be completed.

Presidents Report

Dear PAC Members and Residents,

I wish to clarify via a public statement the Peninsula Aero Club’s position in terms of some rumours and misinformation specific to the aero club regarding noise, expansion and our issues with the Shire.

Let me relieve your fears and remove any doubt in relation to expansion or change. There is no expansion or growth planned at the airport, full stop. It is business as usual as it has been for many years.

In in the interest of full transparency, I offer anyone, including our Councillors, and whoever is spreading fear and uncertainty, and who may wish to know more, an opportunity to make contact and ask for themselves any questions they like.

The airport has been operational for almost 60 years, it employs about 100 people, and we provide free of charge emergency services facilities to support Police, Air Ambulance and firefighting.

The Shire contributed $150,000 towards a new helipad and an emergency access road, which formed part of a $600,000 project which included an emergency medical and triage centre as well as a fuel facility to support emergency aircraft services. This was funded by the members as a gift to the community to make all our lives safer. The helipad has attracted more emergency helicopters, which has saved many lives on the Peninsula and both bays over the past couple of years. This helipad is twice as far away from the residents’ property than it used to be, despite claims that it is closer.

Facts about our future operations.

  • There are no plans to expand the airport operations to increase the number of aircraft movements. There is no physical possibility for our airport to ever become a Moorabbin. Our total annual flights represent less than 3 weeks of Moorabbin.
  • There are no plans, nor have there ever been any plans, to introduce a jet operation at the airport. Our Permits prohibit jets, it’s not legally possible to facilitate jets.
  • There are some restrictions on night flying which represents about 1% of our total operations. There are no plans to increase night operations. The restrictions are enforceable by law and prevent aircraft over 2041kgs from night operations.
  • There are no plans to increase the length or width of the runways. However, there is a plan to widen the sealed section of the grass and bitumen main North South runway to improve safety. This will not change the profile of aircraft approved to use the airport by day or night. It will not change the frequency of use, nor the size of aircraft permitted to use Tyabb Airport.
  • There are no plans to build a new East West runway. We already have an East West runway which is rarely used and then only when weather conditions make it a safer option than our main North South runway.
  • There are fewer aircraft take offs and landings today than during the 70s and 80s; our claims are supported by Victorian government statistical reports. The claims by some, including the Shire, that our movements are increasing are completely false. There is no basis to these claims. In fact our flying school records show it has decreased over the years. This is not to say it will not organically grow over time, but there are no plans to further develop the airport.
  • There are more emergency helicopter movements today than in recent times, but fewer private rotary wing aircraft. However, further into our past, there were more emergency helicopter movements as PAC was the birth place of the Angel of Mercy, being the world’s first civilian air ambulance. This was so successful it was taken over by the State Government and has been replicated around the world.

Battle with the Shire.

PAC has taken the Shire to VCAT twice this year, once to have them remove an unlawful condition they attempted to apply to a simple permit amendment to relocate a tractor shed. This amendment would have effectively given the Shire complete control over the airport to apply any restriction they felt fit through the use of an Airport Master Plan. VCAT confirmed this was unlawful and ordered the condition removed.

The second VCAT hearing had its roots about 2 years ago when the Shire planners suggested we apply to have the “Church hour” condition removed from our permits. Their reasoning was that the condition was redundant given that the relevant church had ceased to operate as a church. Their lawyers gave us the forms to achieve this and we lodged them as directed. Shortly after we lodged the applications, we were called to the Shire offices and told that they would waive the fees if we would withdraw the applications and make new ones under Section 72. We were assured that no additional conditions would be attached to the new applications.

Unfortunately, the planners then recommended that additional conditions would be added and we were forced to withdraw and lodge the application. In VCAT we argue that this restriction is redundant, and there will be no change to the amenity if we continue to fly for this hour because it has been ignored for more than 45 years, with the verbal agreement of the Shire. If it is enforced it will cause safety issues and noise issues, as aircraft will have to take-off before the “Church hour” and returning aircraft may have to be put into a holding pattern over Tyabb waiting to land. We are waiting on VCAT to rule on this and hope to hear shortly.

Now the Shire is seeking to prosecute the club and other airport users claiming that we do not have permits to operate an airfield, flying school, an aero club and various other operations and businesses. We say this is a nonsense as we have all the required permits, which have been ratified by 2 State Planning Ministers, 2 Planning Panels, and several VCAT and other tribunal hearings.

Community Support

We have been overwhelmed by the local support we have received. To show its support, a community member opened a petition and more than 22,000 people signed. With this huge response, it’s clear that some of these signatories were outside of the immediate area, which shows how far afield Tyabb’s airport is known, but apparently most were on the Peninsula.

If it hadn’t been for the Community, we would not have been able to hold the 2020 airshow and would not have been able to make contributions of $60,000 to local causes. I sincerely thank everyone who got behind us.

PAC also started a parliamentary petition to reject the Shire’s request to the Minister to change our Planning Scheme, which was supported by 5470 people and at the time was the 3rd largest Parliamentary Petition every presented to the Parliament. We are hopeful that People Power will prevail and stop this complete nonsense and bully tactics by the Shire.

Finally PAC has no plans to make any material changes in the way of aircraft traffic. We will continue to support flight training, emergency services and being a force for good locally with our charity works and community involvement.

We need to protect our local jobs and ensure that people have a right to work without being bullied and threatened. Our operations have not changed, but people come and go, and should accept the environment they move into. The airport has global recognition, and it is an important part of the Tyabb township, and has been so for nearly 60 years.

Kind regards
Jack Vevers

President – Peninsula Aero Club

Presidents Report

Dear Members,

Turning a negative into a positive is always admirable, but not always easy to do. During the COVID-19 shutdown we’ve made use this precious time the best way we can and have taken this opportunity to do things we may not have been able to do before. I’m excited to announce that we are undertaking a major review of our operations and looking at how we can improve things for our members, students and our community.

I am pleased to share with you that we have undertaken a brand and positioning review of PAC and all that we do. Not only does it allow PAC to introduce a new visual identity, it also represents a fresh start. PACs rebranding creates a unique opportunity for us to communicate a renewed focus and a new strategy which reflects who we are as a club and the direction we are heading.

Our mission, vision, and values govern every decision we make, including brand decisions.  To kick the process off we have updated our logo with a more modern look that will retain the brand loyalty we’ve built for over almost 60 years, while refreshing our image to keep up with changing times. This fresh, unique look belongs to us and represents our club as we continue to strive in standing out in our industry. It still looks familiar, but it’s our design and captures a little bit of an art deco feel to reflect heritage and strength. You’ll start to see changes to our identity system, website, social media profiles, and our new visual brand signature around the airport.

Whilst the logo is fabulous, it’s only the header to the substance of what we are about. Our aim is to project a modern, safe aeroclub and that PAC is the leading aeroclub in Australia – and of that we are incredible proud of. PAC is where aviators come to fulfil their aviation dreams, where we support diversity, and provide the opportunity to learn to fly and achieve their ambitions.

We have it all. Whether you want to build an aircraft, seeking adventure, to meet and share experiences with like-minded people in a social setting or a technical one, we have it right here. We also want to make it clear we are part of the community and a force for good, where we continue and grow our support for local charities and facilitate emergency services.

We have built a new website that helps project these values and commitments, which is now fully integrated with social media i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram etc. We have also reviewed our learning opportunities to allow us to provide pre-recorded training videos, power point materials and other learning resources to help students develop faster and ensure safe and quality outcomes.

Over the next few months we will release a number of promotional campaigns to attract new members to PAC as well as inform the community about who we are and the value we bring. Additionally, we will be producing some fun stuff with new more modern merchandise – this means some new look clothing and useful flying tools and toys.

PAC is already the biggest and the best, and we want to make PAC the GA aviation place to be. We have it all and can cater for everyone, be it a career, be it a dream or be it adventure. PAC can offer everyone that seeks aviation with a safe and advanced environment to achieve and enjoy more.

We thank you for your continued support and for sharing your passion with us here at the club. Our members are the heartbeat of PAC and we are so excited to move forward into the future with you with gratitude and pride.

Kind regards
President Jack

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