By Kirra Grimes

A PLANNING application for a recreational airfield at Bass has prompted an outpouring of objections from neighbours and environmental groups.

Site plan for the proposed airfield and aircraft hangar at Bass, with Western Port Bay approximately 1.5kms to the west.

The $45,000 proposal from the owner of 79 Netherwood Lane, Bass, who is also a member of the ‘Southern Microlight Club,’ includes the development of a 550×25 metre grass airstrip and 240 square metre aircraft hangar on a vacant 40.2-hectare farming property.

According to a planning report submitted to Bass Coast Shire Council in January, members of the Southern Microlight Club – described as a not-for-profit enthusiasts’ group –  will use the site to “fly their own aircraft for personal recreational purposes and will not give flying lessons or act as sight-seeing tourist operators with fee paying passengers”.

There would be a maximum of 20 flights (i.e. one take off and one landing) per day, and flights would operate between the hours of 7am and 7pm from April 1 to November 31 or between the hours of 6.30am and 9.30pm from December 1 to March 31.

As of this week, 18 formal objections had been submitted to council in relation to the application, with concerns centring on public safety, inappropriate use of land in a farming zone as well as a range of environmental and aesthetic implications in a “treasured and fragile” area of Bass Coast.

Two flight paths are proposed for recreational aircraft using a new airstrip at Bass: one following the Bass Highway and another following the shoreline of Western Port.

Several objections make reference to the proposed flight path, which according to the planning report “will generally follow the Bass Highway and then turn to land directly onto the airfield”, but, depending on “operational conditions” may at times follow the shoreline of Western Port and then turn to land on the airfield.

Objectors fear the use of the shoreline “will disrupt the roosting sites and feeding grounds of international migratory birds”.

But, according to the proponent, the airfield “will not have an adverse impact on local amenity, environmental values or the orderly and proper planning of the area”.

“The proposal meets the purpose of the Farming Zone and objectives of ‘Clause 22.06 – Non Agricultural Uses in the Farming Zone Policy’,” a report prepared by Quelch Town Planning states.

They also argue that none of the proposed buildings or works are affected by the site’s Environmental Significance and Land Subject to Inundation overlays.

The application will come before the next elected Bass Coast Shire Council for a decision.

View the plans and objections on council’s website.