All of us understand the huge negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
One of its impacts has been to totally collapse regular, reliable, airline operations within our region.
It is a fact of life neither QantasLink nor Regional Express can survive the current one or two weekly return flights to Port Lincoln airport per week without massive government subsidy.
It is a fact of life that prior to coronavirus both airlines were suffering operating losses due to the overcapacity of two airlines.
That overcapacity has existed from the time QantasLink began operations into Port Lincoln 12 to 14 years ago.
We need to recognise our region can only support ONE airline operator.
If we desire a return to the Regional Express eight to 10 daily return flights to Port Lincoln provided prior to the arrival of Qantas years ago, we need to take decisive action.
Qantas should be encouraged to return to servicing the Eastern States and Queensland and leave Regional Express to service our region.
The following will result over time:
- QantasLink South Australian operating losses will cease.
- Regional Express operations will slowly return to profit with more daily flights.
- Neither airline will require any further government subsidy.
The choice is yours; do nothing, and continue to suffer our now poor service.
Or, encourage Qantas to depart, leaving Regional Express as our sole operator delivering regular and frequent return daily flights.
More consultation wanted for car park development
We request council hold a public meeting in Coffin Bay to explain, in full, the implications of proposed alterations and additions to the existing building and change of use to a tourist office, restaurant and function centre at 100 Esplanade, Coffin Bay, and listen to the views of local ratepayers.
Our reasons are as follows: Stage one of this development set a precedent and resulted in much controversy.
The regulation notice in the back pages of the Port Lincoln Times may have complied with council's legal obligation but not, we believe, with the spirit of the law.
The notice escaped many people's attention and therefore their opportunity to comment.
Previous stringent rules requiring buildings to be set back from the foreshore were waived, plus, the designer made little attempt to harmonise the construction with the natural coastal surrounds which are a unique feature of our town.
Mature trees and the surrounding undergrowth were bulldozed.
We are left with a bare facade dominating over a once secluded beach shaded by trees on its western end.
Stage two of the development, apart from raising further environmental concerns, also has social repercussions.
One of the special features of Coffin Bay is the work done by volunteers, it is an integral part of the social fabric which binds us together as a community.
Both the sporting and yacht clubs for decades have been venues for wedding receptions, conferences and other functions, sometimes with over a hundred in attendance; and profits, of course, are ploughed back into the community.
It would be both a financial and social loss to the town if this was taken over by private enterprise.
An aerial layout of the proposed car park was not included in the March 26 council letter to representatives.
How much further will the natural beauty of our bay be exacerbated by replacing mature trees with a bitumen car park?
Is the proposed project and subsequent upkeep to be funded by ratepayers? Is any rent to be charged?
Also not mentioned in the letter are the trading hours. If the proposal is approved, will surrounding householders and caravanners be subjected to bright lights, music, car headlights and banging doors until the early hours of each morning?
The Beachcomber has been our accredited tourist office for many years - why do we need another in close proximity?
Again, this second proposal has been printed in an easily missed back page of the Port Lincoln Times; much reduced and perhaps not widely read because of the coronavirus restrictions.
Why is the Coffin Bay Sun, a paper which almost all locals read, not used?
Council needs to make itself accountable to its Coffin Bay ratepayers by holding a public meeting to clarify the issues and to hear and take on board our concerns.
It is disappointing that advice to councillors is to vote against holding a public meeting, and we hope that councillors will not heed the advice in the (May 15) agenda and instead vote to suspend all further decisions and work until after a public meeting is able to be held.
Failure to do so, we believe, would be a failure of accountability to their Coffin Bay ratepayers.
DOUG AND ANNIE CLARKE