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Court documents claim private airstrip approval ran out years ago

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A court document has revealed a private airstrip may have been operating without approval for almost 40 years.

The document has been lodged with the Planning and Environment Court by Noosa Council, which is seeking a court declaration and restraining order preventing the use of the strip at Noosaville without development approval.

In its application, which was lodged in January, the council says that approval was given for a 1000m private airstrip for aircraft less than 5700kg on the property in 1975, valid for 10 years with the option of another 10 if both the operator and the council agreed.

It goes on to say Sunstate Airlines wrote to the council in 1984 requesting the approval be extended for the extra 10 years but it has no record of an approval.

The council maintains that approval for the airstrip lapsed in 1985, and even if the request for the extension had been granted it would have expired in 1995.

Noosa Airfield Pty Ltd and its director-secretary, Robert Linke, counter that the property was rezoned for special facilities in 1994, and that the 2020 Planning Scheme zones it as community facilities and recognises its use as an airstrip

The council document says a condition of the 1994 rezoning approval was never fulfilled and the approval was not gazetted.

A lawyer acting on behalf of Noosa Airfield and Mr Linke has submitted a letter to the court as evidence that the council itself operated the airstrip from 1991 to 1998.

Noosa Council has issued an enforcement notice to Noosa Airfield and Mr Linke after complaints from residents about aircraft using the strip.

Noosa Airfield and Mr Linke subsequently appealed and the council applied to the court for a declaration and restraining order.

Noosa Airfield and Mr Linke sought a stay on the council’s application but Judge Garry Long dismissed the request last month.

In his written reasons for the decision, Judge Long said a stay at this stage of proceedings would be an “exceptional” use of power and would only be granted in unusual circumstances, such as an abuse of process.

He said neither Noosa Airfield nor Mr Linke had proven any abuse of process and there was therefore no basis for a stay on the council’s application.

In late May, Judge Long ordered that the council’s application and the appeal by Mr Linke and Noosa Airfield should be heard together and the matter will return to court at a date to be advised.

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