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Helicopter joy flight firm faces axe over noise

written by Adam Thorn | August 18, 2020

The business also conducts charters and aerial surveying from its Marina Mirage heliport in Main Beach. (Gold Coast Helitours)

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.”

Comments (27)

  • Craigy


    The business has operated for 30 years and suddenly a Councillor says they are operating illegally. The Council has made the allegation so it should be up to them to demonstrate why it is illegal. As for the ‘local resident’ Mr Espey, how long have you been living there?

  • Denis ulheron


    Sounds like the lefty lunatics greenies are involved. The Gold coast needs every tourist attraction it can ,we have not much other industries.Noise what about the police and rescue helicopters are they going to ban them also .A ban is sheer lunacy

  • Peter Cox


    This is a typical half arssed response from the council
    This Business has operated legally for years providing a great service to Gold Coast residents & Visitors
    It would be interesting to know how long the so-called complaints have lived nearby.
    Maybe they should be the one’s that need to pack up & find a pleasant rock to live under & stop annoying hard working people trying to employ people & provide a service to the Gold Coast

  • Ben


    Seriously, who would bother running a business in this country with petty dictators populating our governments and bureaucratic behemoths?

  • Not a cranky neighbour


    Totally agree. This is akin to the same issues with music venues. That being there is a business in place. A person buys a house knowing that (and if they didn’t then it’s their own fault) and then once moved in trys to close it down.

    It’s a disgrace to allow this to happen and should always be “buyer beware” !!



    This is stupid PC Politics working its way down the chain….starts at the Arrogant Federal level then gets more impetus from the State bunnies and finally down to the storm troopers in council. Like to see some of these clowns in business. So…time to push back….I am in the Aviation business and I’m happy to join forces with others up against this sort of power tripping nonsense and take them on. Enough is enough.

  • John Harrison


    Absolute Disgrace that a Council can opt to shut this Company Down ! Yes and how Long has this Mr Espey been living where he is ?

  • Peter Brookman


    Check out Don Espey’s facebook page, Gold Coast Qld., you will get an insight to what he stands for ( or doesn’t) he is an import fro South Africa anyway.

  • Rod.D


    These residents with their concerns, have they been living there before or after the business started operated.
    I think not!
    Sounds like the Sydney flight path complaints.
    Let them get on with the business, & too the complaining residents I say – move back where you moved from or live with the noise – it was there before you!

  • Nicole


    This is appauling! Helitours have been operating at the same location for years. Why is not an issue. They operate from a marina in a commercial area with some Hotels around. But the coming and going if Helicopters adds to the buzz of that part of the Gold Coast (The Spit).

    I hope the council revokes the warning and puts the noise complaint to bed.

  • Marum


    Merely the usual megalomaniacal attitude of a local council. I have dealt with shire Councils before today. It is an unenlightening experience, to say the least. It is guaranteed to induce any homicidal tendencies one may have.


  • brett bayly


    As an Australian living in Europe I find this extraordinary….a local council (of often ill informed, private business people with alternative motives) to tell an apparently thriving business that it must shut down because there have been noise complaints is, shall I say so Australian when compared with the business world. Would never happen in Europe.

  • Blake


    How can the business be unlawful if they have an business company name, air operators certificate and comply with the relevant civil aviation regulations? Is Ms Patterson a qualified lawyer offering a legal opinion, and has a court ruled that this business is ‘unlawful’? Too many bureaucrats, its time to defund the government at so many levels, essential services only….

  • Annoyed Local


    The mayor keeps banging on about tourism being the key to survive the pandemic, it’s time to stop making fairy statements to the media and take some action to support the tourism industry and local business.

  • boleropilot


    Naturally I am assuming that Espey will also be whining to the police about all the un-muffled Harley Fergusons riding past his property, not to mention the noise from exhaust braking of semi trailers (I can hear them on a hill 3 kilometres from my home)…

    I’d like to see Mr Epsey go back to South Effrica and see how his nimby complaints would work out with the local authorities

  • Aries1470


    Unfortunately, he won’t complain about the semi’s using airbrakes, due to them extremely rarely passing around that location. I had visited that area 2 years ago.

    Same thing is now happening with Moorabbin airport, they are trying to close it slowly, and with all the new buildings being built around it, give it another 5-10 years and they will ask to have a curfew and maybe even re-develop it. I just hope I am wrong.

    Sound similar to a local council in the south-east in Melbourne, that wants to ban backyard wood and coal fired BBQ & cooking /smoking (meat) because of 3 complaints and when it was put out two years ago, they only got 5 people to sign and now it is being considered by Bayside Council. I will let you do the search on that.

  • Kaine


    Wow, this is just crazy, since when in Australia is it to prove you are not doing something illegal… The burden / onus of proof is on the council to prove that they are doing something illegal. 30 years they have been operating, now a resident is upset, it seems unlikely that he has lived there 30 years (I don’t know so cant say for sure). Imagine though moving next to an airport / heliport and then complain about the noise… I know it is happening around a lot of our airports. Redcliffe, Gympie, Caloundra, Archerfield etc… I don’t want to turn this into a rant about local councils however there are a number of them that seem to think the are more important than they are, they are elected by the people to help the local community. This is clearly them trying to destroy their local economy. Some local councils seem to think they are more important than they are, you see that they are trying more and more to work outside of our legal system. You must hold your local council to account and make sure these sorts of things don’t continue to happen.

  • What a great company Gold Coast Heli Tours !!!
    We are lucky to have such dedicated professional company serving tourist industry.
    We need them very much. Helicopters ad buzz and glamour to Gold Coast and without glamour .
    Gold Coast can not be a world class tourist destination.
    The ones not like noise. Move some other place not in the center of a busy tourist center.
    Councilor should tell residents with noise complaints to move to outer suburbs.

  • Crazy PC world we live in, that councillor and Mr Espey need a dose of reality here, and how the heck could it have possibly been operating illegally…all these years, what rubbish. Our three children have had a trip with this company, a superb outfit.
    It will be a sad day if the council give in to these loonies !

  • Phil


    Start up a GoFundMe page to raise funds to sue the councillor and the resident. I’d be one of the first to donate. This sort of action pisses me off and we see far too much of this, especially in aviation circles. Someone has to make a stand and make these moronic politicians pay to put an end to frivolous and vexacious cases sending legitimate businesses bankrupt. Only when a politician is finally held accountable will this craziness end. Sue the councillor personally.

  • Michael


    My family have lived in Main Beach for over 40 years, in one of the houses closest to the Marina Mirage heliport. They have my full support. Unless you live at Mirage or Versace, the closest residence is half a kilometre away. Utterly disgraceful of council to behave like this. Both councillors should expect significant backlash in next GCCC elections.

  • Gary


    GCCC are a bunch of lunatics…. So a Car Race in the same location that spurts out 1000 times more pollution and noise is OK. Almost every Harley on the Coast has no muffler, never hear these jack booted twits in Council bitching about this. Leave them alone.

  • Linda Weaving


    This is what happens when you allow too much residential development in areas subject not only to helicopter overflights, but any aircraft noise. Bad planning.

  • Sue


    The complaining resident is probably new to the area and doesn’t like the noise. Like new residents who move near airports or under flight paths and then complain about the noise. Seriously petty! If it is illegal, Council should have done something about it 30 years ago. What a joke.

  • AlanH


    I suppose the natural extension of this is to stop all helicopters flying into crowded hospital precincts too! Utter madness!

  • Cheryl


    Helicopter traffic 30 years ago would have been minimal. Now relentless helicopters & noise. Really dangerous in this built up area for residents , retail, yachts & people. Only a matter of time before a major catastrophe.

  • John U


    I hope this company has deep pockets because I would take this to court and let a magistrate decide! Council needs to show how the operation is Illegal after operating for 30 years without any mention of it’s operaiton being “illegal”. It is called prescedent! The council has a real fight on it’s hands.

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