Paramotorists cleared for lift-off

A decision by Joondalup councillors brings good news for local paramotor enthusiasts.
A decision by Joondalup councillors brings good news for local paramotor enthusiasts.

PARAMOTORISTS can continue to use Pinnaroo Point for take-off and landing.

Joondalup councillors at Tuesday night’s meeting conditionally approved a permit to the WA Sky Pirates Paramotor Club to use the City-managed site in Hillarys after receiving the results of a 16-month trial.

The club will need to submit a site management plan for the City’s approval, submit an application and pay fees every year to hire the site and maintain a detailed log of all flights.

Approval can be cancelled if the club does not comply with the management plan or the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia and Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) guidelines and if the City finds the use of paramotors is not compatible with the potential development of a cafe or kiosk at the site.

PREVIOUSLY: Brought down to earth

PREVIOUSLY: Fliers win second trial

City officers had recommended the land not be used “given the level of opposition from the community consultation” where 117 of the 323 total submissions (36 per cent) and 115 of the 182 submissions from City of Joondalup residents (63 per cent) did not support the activity.

However, at the meeting it was noted 97 negative responses were received after May 20, when a letter opposed to the activity was distributed to residents in the area, while 20 were received before.

Cr Christine Hamilton-Prime said before the “unaddressed and misleading letter” was distributed, neither her nor fellow ward councillor Mike Norman had received a complaint about paramotors but after the letter, “they flooded in”.

“It appears that 82.9 per cent of all objections that were received came in after the May 20 letter drop,” she said.

She said the letter was scaremongering and based on false and alarming information.

She moved an alternate motion to approve the use of paramotors at Pinnaroo Point.

“Paramotors, like all other aircraft, fly past the City’s land which they are legally allowed to do,” she said.

“The paramotors will continue to fly up and down our coastline regardless if Pinnaroo can be used by the club or not, as they have sites within the City of Wanneroo they can use.

“Implementing a site management plan with conditions will help to control and manage this activity and also enable the ability to report non-compliance to CASA and the relevant authorities.”

Under the site management plan, the club has agreed not to fly over houses or lower than 300ft (91.4m).

Under CASA guidelines, they could fly as low as 100ft (30.5m).

“Due to the need for the correct wind direction and speed, the club can only use the Pinnaroo Point site 10 times a year if that, so I don’t consider this of sufficient impost to Hillarys residents to ban the sport from the City of Joondalup,” Cr Hamilton-Prime said.

“Furthermore, the use of Pinneroo Point only accounts for about 2 per cent of total usage by the paramotor club.”

She said many residents had raised the issue of noise but a paramotor generated “about the same amount of noise as a single cylinder domestic lawnmower”.

“Although the noise level is highest while they take off, that only lasts about eight to 10 seconds and after that, the noise level is quite acceptable and well within guidelines,” she said.

“Some residents within our City are passionate about paramotoring and who are we to tell someone they can’t recreate their hobby down our beautiful coast which is there for all to enjoy,” she said.

Cr Philippa Taylor agreed, saying Joondalup was “not a killjoy City”.

“People who live along the beach don’t own the beach,” she said.

Cr Brian Corr said the site management plan would give comfort that the club “is doing the right thing, wants to do the right thing and actually will do the right thing”.

However, Cr Kerry Hollywood said results of the public consultation had shown residents affected by paramotors had advised it affects their amenity.

“The beach is there for everyone to enjoy but not taking away their amenity with this huge noise going overhead all the time,” she said.

“There are also risks involved not only for the pilots but the local residents in the area as well.

“These machines put out excessive noise, have safety concerns, take away people’s privacy, fly too low and it is practically impossible for the City of Joondalup to police.”

She said it was dangerous for paramotorists to refuel in the carpark and not appropriate to have the activity operating “less than 100m away” from a proposed cafe.

Crs Geoff Amphlett and Tom McLean agreed saying public consultation had shown the majority of residents did not support paramotoring at Pinnaroo Point.

Joondalup chief executive Garry Hunt said if the use of the site was approved and the City received a number of complaints, he could bring the issue back to council if he believed “the matter was not being dealt with in the manner the council has resolved”.

Crs Hollywood, Tom McLean, Geoff Amphlett and Mayor Troy Pickard voted against the approval.