Tourism venture Paradise Seaplane wants to start joy flights from the Maroochy River. Pilot Shawn Kelly Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily
Tourism venture Paradise Seaplane wants to start joy flights from the Maroochy River. Pilot Shawn Kelly Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily Warren Lynam

Coast Seaplane fighting for council approval

FOR three months they've been wowing sightseers with a bird's-eye view of the Sunshine Coast's glorious beaches, and now Paradise Seaplanes wants to make the Coast its permanent home.

The business has been operating on a trial basis after Sunshine Coast Council granted temporary approval for use of a patch of riverbank at the seaplane's landing place on the Maroochy River.

While the company has the necessary approvals from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Maritime Safety Queensland to operate the plane, it needs council approval for a riverside marquee for ticket sales.

As the end of the temporary permit on March 20 draws near, owners of the new tourism attraction will today present a petition to the council, in a bid to demonstrate community support.

Paradise Seaplanes pilot and owner Shawn Kelly said while the tours were the only opportunity for a seaplane trip between Townsville and the Gold Coast, most of his customers were locals.

"The community support we've gotten has been absolutely phenomenal," Mr Kelly said.

However, the council had received complaints, Councillor Steve Robinson said.

"I've got a few challenges in that some of the residents in Bli Bli have some concern," he said.

"As I understand it, when they come in to land, there is craft on the water.

"They (residents) felt quite anxious about conflict between many craft being on the water, and a seaplane coming in too."

He said these issues would need to be addressed before approval was granted.

Cr Robinson said the council was supportive of new businesses choosing to use the Coast as a base.

But, he said, the trial would need to be discussed by councillors.

Mr Kelly said he understood concerns were about noise from take-off and landing when his seaplane was using a waterski area west of the Sunshine Mwy bridge over the Maroochy River.

He said the business was now using another site, on Bradman Ave, and had not received a complaint since it moved two months ago.

Both Mr Kelly and his wife and co-owner Sandra Groundwater wanted to thank Councillor Jason O'Pray, who they said had championed their cause within the council.

"Jason O'Pray is fabulous and fair. The only reason we have a permit is because he helped us," Ms Groundwater said.

Cr O'Pray said the matter would go to a full council meeting on March 26.


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