News items

PULL THE PLUG ON PFAS

Great news

It is reported that there is no longer the need to pump PFAS contaminated water to the ocean off Marcoola Beach.

Questions still remain however as to the project management’s due diligence in relation to water management of the site.

Council’s media release linked below continues to contend that unusually high rain fall occurred causing catastrophic failure of the bunds.

Rainfall figures

Compare the rainfall against February 2018 which was higher. And 4-month cumulative Nov 2017-Feb 2018 was higher than Mar-Jun 2019. And note the very low rainfall Nov 2018 – Feb 2019. So why was this a problem?. Also note that October rains in 2017 were higher again at 320 mm.

The rainfall was not extreme nor unexpected.

The potential failure of bunds should not have happened.

Why were the bunds too low or not engineered properly to contain the volume of water needed? They said in the report bunds began to be removed in July. So they had been reducing their storage capacity at a time they needed it. We can presume this was to allow operations to start but why immediately after the above average rain that caused the problem?.

But again, the issue appears to come back to mismanagement of water volumes.

Finance and resourcing

All costs associated with the management of ponded surface water on site were to be funded from within Council’s budget for the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project (read ratepayer!).

    •  Why? Again, bunding was a requirement and the rain events were not extreme.
    •  What were the design criteria for containment of salinity, sediment, PFAS and whatever else is in the DA conditions?
    •  Had PFAS been identified as present on site?
    •  Was the bund system constructed and operated to design?

If no to any of the above then the party at fault should pay – is council admitting it was its error?

SCRC Annual Report allows for $38 million to be spent on PFAS treatment and management – this money has now been ‘found’ to address accordingly.

It begs the question – aren’t we paying professionals to figure all this out as they push papers around the last decade or so – to avoid budget blowouts and rectification of serious problems such as this occurring?

This ‘situation’ appears to be a gross omission and oversight on part of the project management team at large, as PFAS was known to be on site and it was not identified and managed as it clearly should have been.

SO MANY QUESTIONS, SO MANY CLOSED MEETINGS

LETS SEE WHAT MY RIGHT TO INFORMATION APPLICATION REVEALS

SCRC Media Release

 

Parking woes

We’ve all had our parking woes and grappled with the introduction of ‘user pays’.

This is however a situation that is out of sync with community needs, adequate planning and treating rate payers like cash cows.

I was once fined (meeting with a local councillor) by QLD Police and Sunshine Coast Council for the same time and place / infringement. One fine was $54, and the other was $92. Naturally I queried this. It was explained that $92 was the maximum amount allowed under QLD legislation.

Guess who used their discretionary powers to allocate the lower fee? Qld Police.

So, council are approving these developments that do not have;

• adequate parking,
• do not have adequate public transport,
• do not have adequate accessibility in times of disaster for emergency vehicles, AND
• we are charged the maximum amount the law will allow when we use our common sense because the obvious has become so obvious it can’t be denied.

This is a cash grab on residents and I agree with the fellow in the article – it’s just plain lousy and I don’t think it passes the pub test.

“Hunter and his mum, Madeline Davis, questioned why people in estates such as theirs were seemingly being targeted for parking fines when the residents were simply “doing their best to keep the streets clear and park off-road”.

“We know that is considered council property, but he did it, along with many others, as people do in these narrow-streeted estates,” Madeline Davis said.

“This is a widespread problem for many locals (and) there is absolutely no commonsense being applied here.”

Ms Davis had been a resident of Caloundra since the 1980s, and had seen many major developments in the area.

She said there needed to be recognition of the repercussions of approving such estates like Caloundra South, and called for a review of the law surrounding parking on the grass strips.”

FAIR’S FAIR for airport tenants

DID YOU KNOW THIS SUCCESSFUL FAMILY OWNED BUSINESS HAS BEEN PUT THOROUGH THE RINGER?

The Airport expansion project has its troubles with millions of litres of toxic water, soil contamination and cost over runs but having met privately with McDermott Aviation a few weeks ago I came to realise that as with most things, you scratch the surface and a lot can be revealed.

I am told that this home-grown multimillion dollar business that was conceived in 1980 and currently employs nearly 170 local professionals, was initially in support of the airport expansion as it would position them for their own expansion plans and the future growth of their business. The flow on effect would be more permanent employment on the coast for more coastal families.

They understood there would be some inconvenience to their daily operations but overall were in support given the documentation and agreements made for the interim period.

McDermott’s have long term leases on numerous hangars at SCA. After repeated communicaitons, in September, the company wrote to airport management warning that sand and dust were a safety threat to its maintenance operations. Sunshine Coast Daily reported:

“SUNSHINE Coast Airport has been billed $3975 per day and warned it would face costs in that order for everyday sand and dust from the runway construction site impacted one tenant’s business.
McDermott Aviation has filed the invoice to cover the cost of its staff having to clean two hangars and water rinse engines of five aircraft and detail their airframes after strong northerly winds sent the dust and sand swirling through its maintenance workshops yesterday.”

These engines are worth half a million dollars each – there can be half a dozen open engines at any one time for maintenance purposes. Dust and sand destroy aircraft engines!.

THEN THERE’S THIS

McDermott Aviation, also having seen shifts to the contractual goal posts have been left out of pocket – and left in the dark literally.

In accommodating the project, McDermott for example were shifted to a new area of the apron or tarmac area. As their operations are 24/7 lighting is an important feature after sunset! This obviously introduces all sorts of safety implications.

What was the proposed solution?

The solution proposed by Sunshine Coast Airport Head of Operations and CEO was to install their own lighting at a cost of $250,000……

AND…..

They understood and supported that the final airport configuration (two fully integrated and operational runways) would be delivered as per the approved EIS and AEIS; an airport configuration that would support the future growth of the region. However, the prescriptive delivery of the new airport facility has been reduced to a single runway airport, as confirmed in the latest master plan.

AND….

Future growth plans for the business incorporate larger, heavier aircraft and connecting these aircraft to the McDermott hangar is essential. McDermott Aviation have been advised by Sunshine Coast Airport:

“Accessing your hanger in line with future growth of operations and larger aircraft will incur a further cost to you in landing fees and you will have to pay for your own tarmac to accommodate these larger aircraft to access your hanger”

THESE ARE NOT SEASONAL / CASUAL JOBS

McDermott Aviation directly employ the largest number of aviation apprentices in Australia – I think we should be nurturing and supporting and accommodating these industry businesses in accordance with the Sunshine Coast Economic Strategy and Corporate Plan.

John McDermott the patriarch of McDermott Aviation Group has committed to building an Aviation Academy here on the Sunshine Coast to both support the expansion of the business and provide stable career paths for those fortunate enough to be chosen to attend the Academy.

It is my belief we should be bending over backwards to bolster the future Aviation Academy and promoting our entrepreneurial local businesses as a feather in our cap – something we can showase!

McDermott Aviation have been the recipients of shifting contractual goal posts from airport management resulting in a loss of not an insignificant amount of money.

They operate 24/7 365 days a year providing critical services to the community ranging from international medevac retrievals should you fall ill abroad to protecting communities around Australia and throughout SE Asia in firefighting tasking.

Let’s remember who the heroes are dousing our fires of late??

DOESN’T SEEM FAIR TO ME

“SUNSHINE Coast Airport has been billed $3975 and warned it would face costs in that order for every day sand and dust from the runway construction site impacted one tenant’s business.
McDermott Aviation has filed the invoice to cover the cost of its staff having to clean two hangars and water rinse engines of five aircraft and detail their airframes after strong northerly winds sent the dust and sand swirling through its maintenance workshops yesterday.
Captain Mike Becker of Becker Helicopters also wrote to the airport on Monday saying his engineering staff and aircrew were having problems with fine dust in their aircraft and simulators”.

In September, the company wrote to airport management warning that sand and dust were a threat to its maintenance operations.
“We have tried simply closing our hanger doors to reduce the amounts of sand and dust blowing into our facilities however this is not enough to stop the continuous spray of sand and dust,” Mr McDermott wrote.
“As you would appreciate, we cannot afford to have sand and dust throughout the exposed engines and sensitive avionics of our aircraft, as the cost to clean and repair any damage caused by the sand and dust from your site would be considerably expensive.
“Could you please put some environmental controls in place to stop all of this sand and dust blowing from your site and into our hangers/maintenance facilities”.

Candidate declares hand in Sunshine Coast Council election

A WOMAN who has led the fight against a controversial development in the heart of her community will contest Division 8 at Sunshine Coast Council elections next year.
Kathryn Hyman became involved in local government affairs following the council’s decision to drive a major planning scheme amendment to allow for urban development on land between the Sunshine Motorway and Twin Waters it once considered out-of-bounds for that purpose.

She was the driving force behind the formation of the Twin Waters West and Surrounds Inc which has attracted the support of community members including engineers, planners, hydrologists, academics and property developers opposed to what they see as inappropriate development on vulnerable land.

Sunshine Coast Council is in the process of evaluating a Stockland development application for the site.

“I am announcing my intention today having been approached by many organisations and individuals over some time requesting that I throw my hat in the ring,” Ms Hyman said.
The mother-of-two has a background in education and the international tourism industry.

She said she understood the symbiotic relationship between community, the private and the public sectors and the importance of those partnerships.
“My experience and attendance at many industry body conferences has taught me that there are good people everywhere who are members of the community themselves doing a fabulous job across areas of expertise,” Ms Hyman said.

“Too often the running theme is that ‘it’s the politics and influences that get in the way of sound decision making’ – this needs to change and it starts at the local level.”
Married to husband David who works in finance and IT, Ms Hyman lives in Twin Waters.

She grew up on the Sunshine Coast and has served as president of Twin Waters West and Surrounds Inc representing members within the Maroochy River catchment, was an executive committee member for OSCAR, the peak residents and ratepayers’ body, and spent many years as volunteer coordinator for Qld Playgroup and Toy Library.

“Through my involvement and discussions with local residents and families over so many years, I have become increasingly aware that good governance in decision making for the public good requires people to be informed and involved in the political process,” she said.

“It seems to me that your local councillor should be actively advocating and informing constituents of issues impacting them, particularly when decisions have far reaching ramifications for residents, investors and the business community alike. People are busy – they are entitled to intelligent and hardworking representation”.

Ms Hyman described as a “flagrant misuse of Local Government legislation” the number of closed meetings held by Sunshine Coast Regional Council when discussing projects involving the expenditure of significant ratepayer funds.

Lack of transparency in council decision making would, as with a growing number of candidates, become a central issue of her campaign.

She has also criticised the number of planning scheme amendments and the ignoring in decision making of a document meant to provide assurance to those living and investing in the region.
“The primacy of the Planning Scheme, a heavily resourced and consulted document, should not be amended ad hoc and too often we see overriding of the Planning Scheme to accommodate influential developers, but everyday residents are required to conform to the rules.”

Division 8, which is held by Cr Jason O’Pray, has undergone a significant boundary realignment ahead of the election.