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 – 20/21 AGM

Dear Members,

COVID
Dealing with the impacts of COVID has created many challenges over the past year, which none of us could have thought was possible a year earlier. Nevertheless, we have been actively setting up the club and the flying school to cope with the ever changing environment to manage our way through the mire and keep the engine of the club turning over.

The hardest hit by the COVID shut downs has been our instructors as they have lost a significant part of their livelihood. May I ask that when we get back, you keep any bookings you make as late cancellations hit the back pocket of our staff.

We as a club can hold our head high, as we have kept the airport open to emergency services, who continue to use the airport several times a week accessing fuel while undertaking law enforcement, fire flighting/prevention and other services.

Additionally, throughout the year members continued to provide Angel Flights to make the lives of many people in the regions a little better by accessing city hospitals for specialist treatment. I admire our pilots who give up their time and offer their aircraft to deliver a wonderful service to regions for free.

I also need to thank the members for their compliance with the COVID directions and doing the right thing. I recognise we are a large part of the Tyabb community and it is important we show leadership and act responsibly and correctly. I feel that everyone has done their part to do the right thing.

Financials
Financially, whilst difficult, we have managed to keep our head above water and stay on an even keel. Fortunately we qualified for several government grants to help offset some of our losses. Ian Johnson and Sue Verran have done a fabulous job in managing our finances and staying on top of things and working with the State and Federal agencies to obtain these grants.

We had an unexpected one off expenditure when we were preparing for the increase in air pilots award adjustment, when we found a historical error that required us to make a back payment to staff. This caused us to undertake an audit and rectify the situation and make good the gap, which is now finalised. We have now put in place a more frequent and rigorous process to ensure we remain better informed and have changed the employment conditions to manage this into the future.

Safety
Never far from my mind is our safety agenda, over the year we organised two CASA evenings to discuss safety with Tim Penny, which all adds to our bank of safety knowledge and improvements. Our HOO, Gerard Lappin, has also been out there amongst the members continuing to support those needing to improve their skills and sharing with us his thoughts on making our flying safer with articles in the TTF during lockdown.
As many of us have had very little airtime this year, because of COVID, we all need to be mindful that we will not be as current as usual. Our instructors are ready to support you with a check flight to ensure we ourselves are airworthy.

Building Projects
This year we saw the completion of two major projects, being the construction of the hangars and tractor shed. The hangars will provide the club with an ongoing source of income for many years to come as well as provide homes to aircraft that would otherwise be parked outside.

The Club’s tractor shed has now been completed, which has freed up a lost hangar spot in the club’s T-hangar, which we all know was a long time coming and took a VCAT hearing to finally get approved.

Our thanks needs to go to both Brian Kholar and Peter Cutting for managing all of these projects which is a great step forward in new facilities and improvements for all members.

Legal Issues
Over the past 12 months we spent more time than we would have liked in VCAT resolving issues, which should have been done at Council, had it not been for the Shire attempting to apply unrelated conditions to permits or attempting to make application for baseless enforcement orders.

We were successful in obtaining costs from the Shire when VCAT ruled the Shire was standing in our way and blocking our application, and the second issue was our successful application for existing use rights to have the “Church Hour” removed from our permit over a Sunday church service that had not taken place since 1978.

The Shire also decided to withdraw from its VCAT application for enforcement orders, for reasons best known to them alone, although we could not see any grounds for such an action in the first place.

This year we have made a VCAT application to the seek a Declaration on our permits as well as obtain existing Use Rights across all of our airport operations for what we have been doing for almost 60 years. This will not get resolved until 2022, however the process is now in train and will hopefully forever resolve any discussion about our permit conditions and activities. I must recognise Judy Pay in all of her assistance and the many many hours supporting me in dealing with these legal matters.

Staff
This year Kellie Gavin has joined us and has taken over from Lisa Waugh in Flight Operations. Kellie has already started to stamp her mark on things and we see new improvements every day.
David Bell has decided to retire from the school and is looking to find a retirement place nearer the sun and sea later this year. I wish David well in his retirement and thank him for all of the great service he has given PAC.
Barry Aldatmaz and Jason Tang have joined our instructor staff, and both gentlemen have great experience and skill to teach new students, and some of us older members, new competencies.

IT Systems
Chris Brown volunteered his services by helping us improve our IT systems with better stability and speed as well as upgrade our very old phone systems, which has been of great help to the club.
Ilona Patience has also helped us make the transition from MYOB to Xero accounting facilities to ready our systems for more extensive IT systems upgrades.

Committee
I need to thank our Committee for their support and help during the year and for all of the volunteered time they put into the Club to keep the grass and runways in good shape, the bar and kitchen compliant, events management, buildings, parking and hangarage as well as legal, Council and communications and lastly the financial management of the club under such difficult times.

Ray Taylor (VP & Events)
Peter Bernardi (IPP & Runways)
Steve Bull (Mowing & Competitions)
Ian Johnson (Treasurer & TTF)
Stephen Braim (Secretary & Comms)
Judy Pay (Community and Government affairs)
Luke Bramston (Bar & Kitchen)
Peter Cutting & Brian Kholar (Building Project)
Martin Cartlidge & Ray Jarvis (Hangarage)
Paul Lucas (Cross Hire Aircraft)

The Future
Whilst we had to postpone the airshow for 2022, we are still looking to coordinate a couple of smaller events such as open days and possibly a STOL competition. Ray Taylor is closely keeping an eye on things and following the Events COVID directions to understand what we can manage.

With any luck this first event will be a turning point for PAC, as I am hopeful this COVID fog will lift and we will emerge into sunshine to restart all of our operations and get back to what we like to do best, and that is, aviation.

President Jack

Presidents Report

Dear Members,

As always there’s never a dull moment with the goings on at PAC as we continue to navigate around snap lockdowns, flying operations, VCAT and our club improvement programmes.

COVID
As we continue to live with the effects of snap lockdowns and restrictions during COVID, I must congratulate the staff and members for their understanding and compliance with the rules.
To some extent, we seem to have fallen into a pattern of understanding and have good plans in place to shut down efficiently and safely and then quickly show our agility to restart and get back to work. We owe a lot of this good planning to our Ops Manage Kellie and our HOO Gerard.
Nevertheless, it’s hard on everyone and no-one more than the instructors with both personal and financial disruption to their lives. Please keep this in mind when making a booking make sure you keep the booking as late cancellations can often hit the pockets of the instructors.

Building Development
Our new club hangars have started to fill with aircraft which is pleasing to finally see happen. We decided to have the floors painted, whilst an expensive exercise, it finishes off what are a set of very well constructed hangars that will serve the club well into the future. There are a few spots left so do not hesitate to enquire if you are looking for to house your pride and joy in a safe location out of the weather.

You will also notice the tractor shed has been completed, which has allowed us to move our tractors and grass management gear over to the new shed. This will not only protect our very expensive equipment but free up a much needed hangar spot for a member.

We need to thank Peter Cutting for managing the building development projects which he has been doing for PAC over many years.

New Committee Member
Ilona Patient has come onto the Committee as Assistant Treasurer. Ilona has a background in accounting and runs a successful bookkeeping business and therefore brings a wealth of accounting knowledge. Ilona has already successfully introduced Xero accounting systems to the club, from our previous software, as we look to invest in new management and flight booking platforms.

VCAT
Many of you will have seen the Shire’s press release on their website and other publications about them welcoming PAC’s application to VCAT. As previously stated, PAC is seeking a declaration as to our permits as well as recognition of our existing use rights, thereby acknowledging all of our airport operations being lawful by virtue of the fact that we have been operating as an airport for almost 60 years.
Friday 13th Aug is the day that the Shire must provide their Statement of Grounds, which will give us insight into their alignment, or otherwise, to our declaration application.

Please be aware that Friday the 13th August is your last day to make your own application or simply write a letter to VCAT stating that you are in support of PAC’s application.

There are 3 options to make a submission to VCAT in support of PAC:
1 Make a full submission with a Statement of Grounds where you can take part in the hearing;
2 make a statement of grounds without opting to take part in the hearing; or
3 write to the tribunal simply stating your thoughts and support for PAC’s application for a Declaration on our permits.

We also received good news that the Shire has written to the Minister and withdrawn the application to amend the current zoning use of the airport. Furthermore the Minister has approved, and now made law, a correction to the typo that was in our planning scheme, which now makes airport operations a permittable use. This withdrawal, and more importantly, the correction to the Planning Scheme effectively ends the Shire’s arguments of the original dispute and the cause of stop work notices, albeit we say were never based in supportive fact or law.

Some more good news recently, is the Shire has granted PAC’s a 5 years unconditional secondary consent in allowing emergency aircraft to use the airport. Furthermore we have been granted 5 year Secondary Consent approval to run an airshow without the need for any additional permits other than a Place of Public Entertainment, which has always been acceptable to PAC. This is a good outcome for the club and I thank Cr Mercurio and the CEO (John Baker) for advocating this successful outcome.

Lastly on VCAT matters, we have yet to hear from the Tribunal about our costs claim against the Shire for their withdrawal of their enforcement application, hopefully this will be resolved over the next few months. We are still waiting on a decision regarding the Lifestyle Village which was heard more than 3 months ago.

The Flying Café
Over the past few weeks we have been trialling a mobile food van in our carpark, which appears to have been a fantastic success for members, the community and the owners of the cafe. The café owners tell me they will be running monthly specials on different fillings along with their pulled pork rolls and other popular yummy eats. I reckon when summer comes around, we’ll see this becoming a popular spot for many. Personally, I have to say their coffee is fabulous and I look forward to escaping after lockdown and heading down for a coffee with everyone.

Airshow 2022
Many of you will already be aware we have decided not to run the 2022 airshow owing to the impacts of COVID. It was becoming apparent the many requirements to comply with a State COVID plan were becoming beyond our capabilities and would require significant costs, which would eat into the funds we would have available for charities. Of equal concern, was that any potential of a COVID lockdown either in Victoria or even NSW, where we rely upon many of our aircraft and pilots, would result in a financial disaster for PAC.
However we are still committed to helping our community with a charity event and are looking to run a couple of smaller open day events during 2022. I have spoken with all of our key sponsors and they are in complete alignment and have committed to remain onboard with us to support smaller, lower risk events.

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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