Helicopters shatter serenity

ONCE peaceful nights out in the wilds of Noosa North Shore to Boreen Point have been replaced by the shuddering noise of helicopters.

The lakeside serenity of Gayle Harris, who owns a holiday home at Boreen Point, last Thursday was replaced by the buzzing annoyance of what she believes is a helicopter night training that went as late as 10.30pm near Teewah Beach.

Ms Harris said this was the third night the intrusive chopper noise had rattled her evening peace and quiet.

"Being a predominately inner city dweller of Brisbane, I find it amazing that locals have to tolerate this," she said.

"The first time I heard it, I thought someone must have drowned off Teewah and the helicopters were searching for the person."

Last year Noosa Parks Association went public with its campaign to put a stop to the commercial use of the old Noosa North Shore landing strip for commercial use that the NPA believes includes military helicopter pilot training.

NPA spokesman Paul Summers said on Friday he expected there would be many more complaints to come from residents about the night-time noise from the training operations.

"The thing is that in Brisbane the helicopters have to operate in controlled airspace but out here they can fly as they like, which often is very low over the land," Mr Summers said.

"And because the ambient noise is so low out in these areas the noise is noticed that much more."

The NPA said this commercial activity was outside the Noosa plan and the previous Noosa Council had intended for this 482ha parcel of the land to become part of the Cooloola section of national park.

The NPA claims there have been up to 20 commercial training flights flown there on week days and "the principal client of the helicopter training company is the defence force of a Middle Eastern country".

An NPA newsletter stated:

"Canoeists in the upper Noosa River, or bush walkers on the newly opened Cooloola Great Walk, which links Noosa North Shore to Rainbow Beach, now have to contend with incessant and invasive helicopter noise.

"It would appear that the only way to stop such Sunshine Coast Regional Council environmental vandalism is to persuade the State Government to revoke council's trusteeship of the landing ground."

A Sunshine Coast Airport spokesman said last year that Becker Helicopters used the facility to carry out overseas training contracts.

A company spokesman is yet to confirm if the landing field is part of an overseas proving ground for military pilots, but the website states: "most of our clients wish to remain anonymous due to the nature of dealing with government agencies of other countries".

"We offer a full in-house theory solution, detailed reporting and grading, assessments, wings graduation and streaming for reconnaissance, attack, air mobile, air transport or other support roles," it stated.

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