The Lismore Residents Action Group say they do not object to the future development of the airport, they say the reality is that they are specifically concerned about the considerable increase in aircraft noise caused by flight training, which includes circuit and night training and the disturbance to those living in Lismore and surrounding areas.
Spokesperson for the Residents Action Group, Gertrud Kurtz, said the group want to be made very clear that they are not against the airport or local pilots. ‘The group fully supports community services such as the rescue helicopter, Rex, medical flights and other long-established airport activities and also support the development of the airport as a business and tourist opportunity.’
Noise greatly increased from January 2020
Ms Kurtz said these residents, who have lived in Lismore for many years, had no complaints about aircraft noise. ‘The noise greatly increased from January 2020 due to an increase in flight training. There has been little attempt by Council to address or mitigate the distress caused by the increased noise and air pollution.
‘When the group and other residents approached Council last year they were advised to send their complaints about aircraft noise to Airservices Australia only to be told that the issue is not a problem and that Airservices Australia do not monitor Lismore airport.
‘Council continues to direct all aircraft noise complainants to this organisation when this handballing of the issue is of no use.
‘Fly Neighbourly’ guideline
Ms Kurtz says that after several months of complaints from residents, Lismore Council did prepare a ‘Fly Neighbourly’ guideline which recommends that pilots be aware of the distress that extra noise causes the community living under flight paths and to modify their flight paths.
‘However,’ says Ms Kurtz, ‘The flight paths for circuit training specified in the ‘Fly Neighbourly’ guideline still enable the training circuits to fly directly over highly populated residential areas and there are no binding obligations or consequences when the guideline is ignored.
‘The Resident Action Group also approached Lismore Airport management about this issue with no response. The group feels that the lack of transparency and unavailability is deeply concerning and requires more communication and clarification.
During lockdown pilot training ceased
‘Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic with the lockdown of the international borders pilot training ceased and there has been no issue with excessive air traffic over Lismore. Many of the trainee pilots are from Asian countries and have not been able to enter Australia.
‘It is obvious that the reduction in air traffic since then has reduced aircraft noise to acceptable levels. However, for the Lismore Council to conduct an airport survey when pilot training had stopped due to border closures is not a fair or accurate means of determining resident opinion.
The Lismore Airport Resident Action Group and their supporters are concerned that the proposed development of the airport will substantially increase flight training circuits over Lismore and its regions. ‘We do not want Lismore to become a pilot training hub with the consequent loss of peace in our homes and clean air in our gardens.’