IT LOOKED as if it was over, but the battle between the Somerton model aero club and disgruntled neighbours seems likely to roll on – all the way to the Land and Environment Court.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, councillors voted unanimously to rubber-stamp modifications to the Tamworth Aero Radio Model Aircraft Club’s (TARMAC) development application (DA), effectively lifting noise parameters from a maximum of 35 decibels to 55 decibels.
The Leader was initially led to believe mediation between the parties prior to council carrying the motion had put the noise dispute to bed, but has since learned the neighbours plan to fight on and lodge an application with the Land and Environment Court.
Matthew Streater, who spoke on behalf of concerned neighbours at the start of Tuesday night’s meeting, indicated he was unhappy with council’s response to date, saying the group of four would take the issue to court in order to “protect our way of life” if the amendment was approved.
Before the matter went to a vote, a number of councillors voiced their concern at the parties’ resolve.
“This is a real item of contention,” Tamworth councillor Juanita Wilson said.
“If there is not a will on both sides, then it won’t work.”
She said, just like those living next door to sporting fields, schools or shopping centres, there needed to be some give-and-take.
TARMAC sought to modify its DA after receiving a number of complaints from Mr Streater, who claims club members’ model aeroplanes were intentionally flown over his house and antagonised his horses.
TARMAC president Larry Hoskins categorically denies Mr Streater’s assertion.
“We don’t go out there with the intention of annoying anyone,” Mr Hoskins said.
“We are not a bunch of yahoos ... we’re very responsible people, most of us are 50-plus. We just want to go out there, fly our planes, have a few giggles and go home.”
While the club would prefer another five-decibel buffer, Mr Hoskins said the updated DA “was a lot better than what we had”.
“Originally there wasn’t a noise level established as such, so when there is no noise level, they take the base level as 30 decibels, which is a lot quieter than the inside of a quiet library,” he said.
“Fifty-five decibels is within the realms of normal speech, so it’s not a loud noise.”
As part of the modification, TARMAC must also undertake regular noise monitoring.
Yesterday, Mr Streater, who said he did not want the club to shut down but rather comply with its original DA, confirmed he was ramping up his efforts.
“We are leaving it in the hands of the barrister. An application is being lodged at the moment,” he said.
The club uses the Somerton facilities every Sunday from 9am to 2pm and holds weekend events twice a year.