Airport drops Tralee appeal
Support for the ACT to host Sydney's secondary airport has driven the Canberra Airport Group to drop its Supreme Court appeal against the contentious South Tralee development proposal.
The company had previously challenged Queanbeyan City Council and the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure over planning processes associated with the Tralee draft proposal, which was approved by council in 2010 for submission to the government for a final decision.
Canberra Airport chief executive Stephen Byron said dropping the appeal would clear the way for a decision to be made in the wake of Premier Barry O'Farrell's recent comments supporting Canberra as the option for Sydney's secondary airport.
''The NSW Premier has been clear that there shouldn't be a second airport in Sydney because of houses on the flight paths,'' he said.
Mr Byron said there were also independent reports that would support a rejection of the proposal, which outlines plans for 1850 new homes south of Queanbeyan.
But Village Building Company chief executive Bob Winnel said the withdrawal should be seen as an acknowledgement of error.
''One has to assume that if they withdrew the challenge, they saw no grounds on which they could win,'' he said.
Mr Winnel said the government should now consider the lack of affordable housing in its impending decision, stating that a 10-year delay on rezoning had increased the cost of the land dramatically.
''The downside of the Tralee saga is not just for the Village Building Company,'' he said.
''It's a downside for every young person in the region who aspires to own their own home.''
Queanbeyan Mayor Tim Overall urged NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard yesterday to make a decision on the plans, saying it had ''already dragged on for far too long''.
''The decision of the Canberra Airport Group to drop their legal appeal clears the way for the NSW government to finally make a decision on the future of the Tralee development,'' Mr Overall said.
''The Tralee saga has already dragged on for too long and the way is fully clear now for the minister to make his decision.''
Queanbeyan City Council said yesterday the Canberra Airport Group had challenged the planning process on several grounds, but the proceedings were dismissed by the Land and Environment Court. The Canberra Airport Group then lodged an appeal against the decision in favour of council, the Department and the Village Building Company, which was due to be heard next week.
The council also said that Canberra Airport Group's withdrawal meant it was once again responsible for the legal costs of all parties.