A Gold Coast joy flight business that has been operating for 30 years faces closure due to noise complaints – but claims it was first informed of the decision by a councillor on social media.
Gold Coast Helitours has been issued with a show-cause notice and has until 22 September to demonstrate it’s not operating illegally.
“We’ve been operating on the Gold Coast for more than 30 years, we’re a major tourism player … We have been blindsided,” owner Scott Menzies told The Gold Coast Bulletin. “It’s very much a minority having a crack at us.”
The tour company, which has halved its workforce to 10 people since the start of the pandemic, also conducts charters and aerial surveying from its Marina Mirage heliport in Main Beach.
According to local newspaper reports, Southport-based councillor Brooke Patterson made the declaration that the business was “not lawful” on Facebook.
Menzies claims he’s never received any official correspondence from the council.
“But I know about it because it was sent to me third-hand and was on social media,” he said.
“It’s very disappointing the council and the councillors have actually expressed their concerns and told their electorate of the impending notice on me when I haven’t even received it. I feel it’s very unfair that they can make comments about things they’ve never even spoken to me about.
“They’ve never rung me with their concerns, Cr Taylor and Cr Patterson.”
He added that the council approached the business late last year but, after responding to their concerns, heard nothing.
Councillor Darren Taylor then seemingly confirmed the action to the ABC.
“At the moment there are two options; either they stop, or submit an application and they will have to go through that process,” he said.
“It effectively gives them until September 22 to either stop flying or stop trading … or they can submit an application to actually provide their services. By doing that, it will be an impact-assessable application which the residents would have a say in the outcome.”
Local resident Don Espey told the state broadcaster, “There is no space for a noisy helicopter operation. We are just delighted that common sense is appearing to prevail.”