Horsham councillor John Robinson claims aerodrome faces Essendon Airport-style risk from truck bypass

Smoke rises from a fatal passenger plane crash at Essendon Airport in February 2017. Photo: Twitter / @Tsm042
Smoke rises from a fatal passenger plane crash at Essendon Airport in February 2017. Photo: Twitter / @Tsm042

HORSHAM Rural City councillor John Robinson has claimed that Horsham Aerodrome would have the risk of an Essendon Airport-style crash if the truck bypass went ahead as proposed.

Cr Robinson used his time for delegate’s reports at Monday’s council meeting to outline his concerns about how close a new highway would come to the aerodrome under option D of the Horsham bypass.

Last month five people died when a passenger plane crashed into a shopping centre near Essendon Airport.

The chartered flight narrowly missed hitting vehicles on the Tullamarine Freeway during morning peak traffic while experiencing difficulties shortly after takeoff.

“Our entire aviation community here advises that option D presents us with an Essendon Airport-style tragedy waiting to happen,” Cr Robinson said.

“It makes no sense to have a built-up bypass with cars, buses and transport close to, and directly across from, the flight path of aircraft.

“Those aircraft are only going to clear the tops of containers by a few meters.”

Proposed bypass options

Other councillors questioned if Cr Robinson was starting a debate outside of the designated meeting time for such matters.

Cr Robinson said his statements were connected to his activities as a councillor in the preceding two weeks.

Cr Robinson said there was a push to get option D approved without regard to impacts on critical infrastructure and the environment.

“These irregularities have the ability to undermine confidence in council,” he said.

Cr Robinson said there had been a reluctance to endorse a preferred bypass option going back to the 1960s.

“The proposed option D fails to take trucks out of the centre of Horsham, one of its main stated objectives,” he said.

Cr Robinson said there was community disagreement over the bypass.

“Option D, and the poor handling of community engagement, has affected this community and, in council, we’ve shed a bit of blood over it,” he said.

“We have the Haven community and the surrounding area supporting option D simply because they don’t want option 5A to get up as it goes right through the area.

“It’s the NIMBY – Not In My Back Yard- syndrome alive and well.”

Cr Robinson also announced his intention to move a motion at the next council meeting to ask Victorian Roads Minister Luke Donnellan to review the bypass.