April date given for heliport court action

A PARTNERSHIP behind a proposal to expand the number of takeoffs and landings at Highland Heritage Estate’s heliport to 90 a week will take Orange City Council to the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Helicruz proposed to operate 80 per cent of the flights, with 20-40 per cent for tourism, 15 per cent for charter, 25-30 per cent for emergencies and 20-25 per cent for pilot training, with the rest for private users.

Despite applicant Nessdee’s assurances no flights would land or take off between 10pm and 7am, councillors unanimously refused the increase in October based on unacceptable noise and visual impacts.

Council staff also noted the environmental impact statement failed to justify the project because it did not analyse alternative locations and used anecdotal information to support the high number of flights.

Surrounding residents also objected to the idea, with six addressing the October meeting.

Seven take-offs and landings are currently permitted.

Illegal building works already completed, including an approved single-storey office extended to two storeys, an awning on the hangar’s eastern side and an concreted landing area, were to be addressed in a further report.

A telephone directions hearing has been set for early April.

Helicruz owner Craig Murphy confirmed Nessdee had lodged court action, but declined to comment on the grounds.

A spokesman for the d’Aquino Group of Companies, which owns Highland Heritage Estate, could not be reached.

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