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Helipad removed

08 Mar 2018

Helipad removed Image

By Shane Scanlan

Flinders Wharf residents are delighted, but the industry is feeling vulnerable following the removal of the North Wharf helipad on January 31.

The residents had been strongly opposed to any lease renewal between Parks Victoria and the operator Microflite.

Local resident John Johnson told Southbank Local News: “Relocating the North Wharf Helipad is a relief to us residents and local businesses within the immediate area.”

“This self-monitored helipad was only six metres from the footpath, 30 metres from a busy pedestrian bridge and closer than 60 metres from a residential high-rise building and shops.”

But industry spokesperson Clem Newtown Brown decribed the removal as a backward step for the state’s economic activity. He said more than 10,000 tourists used the facility each year and regional tourism was the primary beneficiary.

“Melbourne is the only city in Australia where you can land a helicopter in the CBD. It is a significant advantage we have over other cities. After over 50 years of helicopters operating in the city we are at risk of losing our helipads, squeezed out by development,” he said.

As part of the deal between Shed 5 developer Riverlee (see our story on this page), it is obliged to restore the wharf, but couldn’t do so until the helipad was removed.

Its wharf contractor Freyssinet Australia has now started the wharf’s restoration.

But Parks Victoria is refusing to say whether the removal is temporary or permanent.

Parks Victoria executive director, Chris Hardman said: “In September last year, Parks Victoria issued a relocation notice to Microflite Pty Ltd advising of the need to relocate the North Wharf Helipad site in January 2018.”

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