One of Victoria's most vibrant GA airports, Tyabb on the Mornington Peninsula, has been effectively ordered to shut down by the local Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.
The shire has issued letters to all operators on the base including the Peninsula Aero Club (PAC) and maintenance companies telling them to stop work because the council can't find the permits that have allowed the airport to operate for more than 50 years.
"PAC is facing one of our most important fights to defend our rights to be an airport," PAC president Jack Vevers told club members. "We are under a blunt and aggressive attack by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.
"On Monday this week, without warning or consultation, the club and other businesses on the airport received letters from the shire to stop work.
"The Shire has raised concerns that it is unable to locate permits which allow the Club to continue to operate as it has been doing for more than 50 years."
These missing permits are believed to include those that allow:
- the use of the land as an Airport or Airfield
- the operation of the flying school
- a transport terminal
- a place of assembly
- a major sport and recreational facility
- a major events facility (the biennial air show).
A number of the maintenance facilities have also been directed to stop work, which PAC believes could impact families and jobs.
"If these stop-work notices were to be enforced it would mean a massive loss of jobs and damage to local families and surrounding businesses," Vevers said.
"This is a direct response to the continuous attacks from the anti-airport faction and the shire appears to be attempting to thwart the potential for these businesses to access their existing use rights.
"The shire’s approach has been bombastic to say the least, and in some instances over the past few weeks, may have been unlawful with regards to our permit applications.
"It is our contention that PAC has permits and rights to support all of these functions and we will be defending our rights of existence after more than 55 years."
A meeting of all members of PAC has been called for Tuesday 11 June to discuss the council action.