Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Lithgow Council to consider Capertee Heliport tonight The Public concern disregarded

Lithgow City Council tonight will consider the controversial Capertee Heliport that council officers have recommended for approval in a report released last Friday evening.

“Tonight we will see whether Lithgow Council has any sensitivity to community concern or if it is simply a rubber stamp for development. Nothing has been resolved with this proposal,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“It seems that Council is unable to articulate community objections to its Councillors.  There is no section in the council report I received on Friday that itemises the concerns raised in over 300 submissions received.  The usual procedure is to demonstrate how the public’s concern with a development proposal has been resolved.  I have no evidence that this was done, as is usually required for a proposal subject to an environmental impact statement”, Mr Muir said.

Mr Muir said that “Councillors have a final chance tonight to listen to the public. A heliport in Capertee would be very detrimental to the amenity of one of the most scenic areas in NSW and would drive away eco-tourism from the area,” said Mr Muir.

“Approving this heliport proposal may place at risk the Emirates’ six star eco-resort proposed for the Wolgan Valley.  The Emirates intend to have a tamed wilderness theme for the $50 million resort and helicopter joy flights would wreck that concept as well as spoil the enjoyment of the Capertee Valley for residents and visitors”, said Mr Muir

“The Council report even proposes a consent condition that could undermine existing minimum flying heights over the World Heritage Area from 2000 feet to as low as 500 feet. This proposed condition suggests that Council is not interested in protecting the World Heritage Area or the amenity of its own residents,” Mr Muir said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9299 7341 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)