Hang gliding and paragliding enthusiasts have been dismayed by the recent ban imposed by the Scenic Rim Regional Council in Queensland, Australia, on using the bottom-landing field at Beechmont. The council cited safety concerns due to the field’s proximity to a busy road and a school. However, supporters of the sport argue that the ban is unwarranted and will adversely affect the local economy.
Beechmont’s bottom-landing field is a popular destination for hang gliders and paragliders in Australia, offering breathtaking views of the Gold Coast hinterland and attracting both seasoned and novice pilots. The council’s decision has been met with widespread opposition from pilots and the local community.
In a petition to the council, pilots argued that the ban is “unnecessary and will harm the local economy.” They pointed out that no accidents had occurred at the field in over two decades and that the ban would discourage tourists from visiting the area and harm businesses that depend on the sport.
The council has stated its willingness to review the ban if pilots present a safety plan addressing its concerns. However, pilots are skeptical about the council’s willingness to lift the ban and are contemplating legal action to challenge the decision.
The ban highlights the difficulties that pilots encounter in keeping their sport accessible as urban areas expand, making it increasingly challenging to find secure and authorized places to fly. Pilots are urging the council to reconsider its decision and collaborate with them to find a resolution that safeguards everyone’s safety while allowing the sport to continue.