Brought down to earth

Community opposition may ground paramotorists.
Community opposition may ground paramotorists.

PINNAROO Point could soon be off limits to paramotorists.

As part of a trial, members of WA Sky Pirates Paramotoring Club were permitted to take off and land at the City-managed site in Hillarys.

The first six-month trial was held from January 4 to July 5 last year, with an extension granted for another trial from August 20 to June 30.

Before the second trial, the club submitted an operations manual to address the City’s initial concerns and outline risk management strategies.

Joondalup councillors at Tuesday’s meeting will consider the trial results with officers recommending the land not be used “given the level of opposition from the community consultation”.

The City undertook consultation in May with 323 valid submissions, of which 36 per cent did not support the activity.

Of the total submissions, 182 were from City of Joondalup residents and 63 per cent were not supportive.

Concerns included excessive noise, safety, invasion of privacy and flying low and close to houses.

Reasons supporting the land use included the sport being “great to watch”, the site being a good location with no effect to the amenity and limited activity and a drawcard for visitors and tourists.

It was noted in the July 14 council briefing document there was “strong campaigning both by the paramotor club (focused on social media) and local residents in opposition (letter drop in the targeted consultation area)”.

“Neither of these campaigns was deemed to have affected the consultation results,” it said.

Club committee member Neil Angwin said their social media campaign was initiated following an anti-paramotor campaign and the objecting letter drop “well exceeded” the targeted consultation area.

“To say the scaremongering would not have affected a person’s judgment who was unaware of the true facts of the minimal usage and history of the sport was unfair to say the least,” he said.

During the second trial of the site, club members took 11 flights over four occasions with no incidents reported.

Club president Mark Wild said the site was “very weather-dependent” and could only be used for flights about 10 days a year between 11am and 2pm.

He said this would mean there would be a maximum of about 40 flights a year.

He said approving the club’s use of the site would mean there would be an agreement with the City to manage the sport.

“Over 70 per cent of our flying brings us past City of Joondalup land,” he said.

“If the City has an agreement with the club, pilots will fly no lower than 300ft (91.4m) over the City limits and the club will manage that because if they’re flying lower, they’ll potentially be risking the club’s access to Pinnaroo Point.”

He said the club had conducted four noise tests and the noise was deemed acceptable at takeoff, 100ft (30.5m) and 300ft.

He added there had also been no third party paramotoring incidents in 30 years in Australia.

Mr Wild said though officers had flagged an option for seasonal use from April 1 to September 30, this was not ideal because the club could only use the site about five days a year.

“The amount of work and management involved is not worth the club’s effort,” he said.

Pinnaroo Point is also the site for a new cafe, which the council recently approved a tender for from White Salt.