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Byron Shire
January 23, 2022

Aviator calls on council to ditch the donga

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The location of the proposed donga, adjacent to the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome. (supplied)
The location of the proposed donga, adjacent to the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome. (supplied)

Former Ballina shire councillor and keen aviator Margaret Howes has called on Richmond Valley Council to reject a proposal to build a donga village adjacent to the airport at Evans Head.

The proposed village would house up to 400 workers employed on the upgrade of the Pacific Highway.

Former councillor Margaret Howes is not happy about plans to build a donga adjacent to the airport at Evans Head. (pic courtesy of www.tecnamqld.com.au)
Former councillor Margaret Howes is not happy about plans to build a donga adjacent to the airport at Evans Head. (pic courtesy of www.tecnamqld.com.au)

The application has been on display for comment, and would soon be considered by the council.

But Ms Howes believes the proposal should be thrown on the scrap heap.

‘Anyone who approves a donga camp/caravan park so close to the end of an active airport runway is not a competent town planner.,’ Ms Howes said.

‘Why create a development which will give eternal conflict, and presents a danger to pilots/passengers in aircraft and inhabitants/users of a proposed donga camp/caravan park?

Ms Howes said there was already a ‘Fly Neighbourly’ protocol in place to divert aircraft in the circuit at Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome from the east side (over the town) to the west side (over open country).

‘This Fly Neighbourly advice is listed in the bible of pilots, the En Route Supplement Australia,’ she said.

‘Now this proposal attempts to create a built-environment on the west side at the end of two runways and under a gazetted active aircraft noise corridor.

‘The rationale for this development is shocking!’

Ms Howes has provided the council with a photo taken on February 11, which she says ‘clearly displays the proximity of the development site to the end of two runways.’

‘In times of bush fire, all runways at Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome are used by the fire fighter aircraft. They take off on one runway and land on another.

‘The only sensible thing to do is to reject this DA – unless there is an agenda to close the aerodrome.

‘But why would anyone want to close this most valuable piece of infrastructure which has been a gazetted aerodrome since the 1930s?’

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