John Gosper, of Booyong, with his Technam light aircraft beside the landing strip he built on his property.
John Gosper, of Booyong, with his Technam light aircraft beside the landing strip he built on his property.

Pilot has sights set on council

By Mary Mann

BALLINA Council has butted out of Margaret Howes' private airstrip.

Now Booyong man John Gosper has jumped on the bandwagon and wants the council to butt out of his, too.

This comes after a fiery debate between controversial representative Cr Howes and the council. Cr Howes faced%legal action over an airstrip she built on her Patchs Beach property without development consent.

Several councillors expressed concern about the air strip's legality, however it was decided last month that no further action would be taken because development consent was not required if the strip was for private use only.

Mr Gosper, one of about 15 other people in the shire with a private airstrip, said he had been required to get development consent in April last year to build the airstrip on his property.

He now wants council to write him a letter stating that he was not required to have a DA for a private airstrip on private property. He also wants council to write to his neighbours and publicly advertise the same information.

"I originally disputed the legality of Ballina Shire Council demanding a DA to build the airstrip," Mr Gosper said.

"The council said DA approval was required. I wasted a lot of time going through the process, dealing with objections and getting it approved.

"Now I want council to reverse the process and tell people it has no say over private airstrips on private property." Ballina Council's acting regulatory services group manager, Andrew Smith, said council staff had received Mr Gosper's letter and that they were looking into the matter.

"It is not as black and white as it seems," Mr Smith said. Council staff are expected to report back in September.



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