As summer turns to Autumn, the Centre is looking so lovely, lush and green and leaves just beginning to turn on the pin-oaks. The parrots are squabbling over the crab-apples down by the dormitories, and a rogue pumpkin vine from the compost is gallivanting over the garden with abandon. Everything is looking tranquil and abundant and yet, in a local community meeting last week, deep concern and resolve were expressed about a proposed development of the Katoomba Airfield, just down the road.
Even those yogis who have explored the surrounding areas by foot might not be aware Rutland Rd leads on to Grand Canyon Drive which contains an airfield currently used by National Parks & Wildlife as an emergency landing field and for bushfire fighting. Despite almost no community consultation, a lease is currently being considered for a new commercial operator which would see the airfield’s activities extended to include helicopter and fixed-wing joy-flights less than 4 km from BMIMC, with all traffic for the airfield coming straight past our front door! Regular helicopter flights may pass in close proximity to the Centre, and if the wind is blowing in the right direction, the noise could be significant and ongoing.
A local petition asking for more community consultation and proposing the airfield be maintained by NPWS, and that the commercial license not be granted has already gained considerable traction with 1,500 signatures in just a few weeks and, we expect, many more to come. Many people in the Blue Mountains are appalled at the idea of low flying aircraft polluting the pristine skies and tranquil environs enjoyed by people from all over the world.
What are we doing?
We have written to Scott Mullen at the Department of Industry asking that BMIMC be regarded as a stakeholder and underlining the significant impact a commercial airfield will have on the Centre. We have forwarded this letter to all local candidates in the upcoming election in the Blue Mountains, and have a petition set up at the Centre to sign.
We are also in contact with other retreat centres in the Blue Mountains who will also be significantly affected by the low flying aircraft noise.
What you can do
- Drop in to the Centre and sign the petition
- Sign the online petition. Although online petitions are not admissible in parliament, they do carry weight as a signifier of community concerns.
- Write to the Department of Industry and copy in candidates in the upcoming State Election. See this site for instructions and contact details.
Your help is greatly appreciated.