Coffs City Skydivers claims that personal agendas were behind a decision to ban the company’s operations are wide of the mark according to Grafton Aero Club secretary, Peter Clement.
Coffs City Skydivers claims that personal agendas were behind a decision to ban the company’s operations are wide of the mark according to Grafton Aero Club secretary, Peter Clement. Skydive Ramblers Sunshine Coast

Risks, not egos led to ban

THE group managing the South Grafton Aerodrome says risk management, not personal agendas, are at the centre of the future of skydiving in the Clarence Valley.

Peter Clement is secretary of Grafton Aero Club that manages the airfield on behalf of Clarence Valley Council.

He said claims by parachuting business Coffs City Skydivers that personal agendas were behind last year's decision to ban the company's operations at the airfield were wide of the mark.

Council banned the company from operating at the airfield following a report from the committee detailing safety concerns about skydiving operations.

That report included photographic evidence the company's skydivers landed too close to buildings, allowed people too close to live propellers when on the ground and did not follow other safety guidelines.

"Everyone who operates from the aerodrome has to comply with the guidelines of their parent body," Mr Clement said.

"As a pilot instructor I have to follow Recreational Aviation Australia guidelines, the commercial operation has to obey CASA, the gyrocopter guys follow Australian Sport Rotorcraft Federation rules and the gliding guys follow what their association says.

"From what I can see of the skydiving operations here they would not be operating in what the normal person would consider a safe way."

He said the committee had documented instances where the activities of skydivers were outside the guidelines of their professional group, the Australian Parachute Federation.

He said the committee was disappointed council did not ask for its input at Tuesday's committee meeting where Coffs City Skydivers representatives addressed councillors.

"It doesn't help transparency not to hear from the people who manage the facility," Mr Clement said.

"We will look at having committee members address council about their concerns."



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