Peninsula Aero Club (PAC) president Jack Vevers has said he is humbled by the community support in the wake of the local shire issuing orders for Tyabb Airport businesses to stop operating.
Last week, the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (MPSC) stated that businesses on the airport would have to cease operations because permits could not be found.
Businesses, including PAC, either stopped work or wound back their operations significantly. Private operations continued from the airport because it was unclear whether or not the MPSC letters effected the use of the land as an airport.
Last night, a large proportion of the 550-strong PAC gathered at Tyabb to discuss the issue and express their support for the action PAC intends to take. Vevers would not rule out that action including a legal challenge in the Supreme Court and a claim for damages.
Vevers said the support of the members and the general community has forced action from MPSC CEO John Baker.
"It's really quite humbling to see the community come out and support aviation," Vevers told Australian Flying. "The members and a lot of the community are behind us and they've put enough pressure on the council that after two weeks of silence the council CEO has picked up the phone and called me this morning.
"They're preparing to talk to us about how we move forward and get things stabilised. I can't say that the war is over. There's still a lot to do, but I'm really pleased that the CEO has decided to make contact and he's talking in a very conciliatory way to resolve this, so that's a good start."
Vevers believes the council action has the potential to cause a lot of damage, which has generated the interest from both the aviation community and the local community.
"This started off as a planning issue," he said, "but it's quickly evolved into an employment and family issue because of all the jobs that have been put at risk. That's indefensible by the shire, so they're starting to see reason now, which is great.
"We still contend that we have permits. There's no question in my mind that we have permits to operate."
A petition raised on change.org by a local Tyabb woman has garnered nearly 9000 signatures by this morning and posters on Tyabb community Facebook groups have also expressed support.
PAC has organised a community event this Saturday at Tyabb Airport for local people, and is encouraging all members of the aviation community to come along and support the aero club in its fight with the council.
"There's a lot of demand from the community to understand more about this, our side of the story," Vevers said, "so we've decided to have an open discussion and allow people to come down so we can tell them where we're at.
"Also, we want to thank them for their fantastic support."