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Council to vote on skydivers’ tenure

Clarence Valley Council will decide on Tuesday whether or not Coffs City Skydivers can continue using the South Grafton Aerodrome.
Clarence Valley Council will decide on Tuesday whether or not Coffs City Skydivers can continue using the South Grafton Aerodrome. David Nielsen

CLARENCE Valley Council will possibly chase Coffs City Skydivers out of Grafton, with or without confirmation that accusations against the company's safety record are true.

Clarence Valley Council general manager Scott Greensill has defended a report which lawyers acting on behalf of Coffs City Skydivers have labelled defamatory.

Last year the council decided to stop Coffs City Skydivers using the South Grafton Aerodrome after it was claimed the company had breached safety protocol.

The accusations included the company incorrectly stored fuel, did not control onlookers, had no safety officer, did not have a designated drop zone for parachutists to land in and was loading skydivers into planes without turning off the engine.

However, a spokesperson from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said loading people into a running aircraft was not against regulations.

Mr Greensill conceded the council had no confirmation from CASA that Coffs City Skydivers had actually committed any of the safety breaches.

But he said people's safety was his primary concern.

"The situation with us is, we own the facility they are asking to use and first and foremost people's safety will be prioritised," Mr Greensill said.

When asked if the action was premature, considering no finding had actually been made against the company, Mr Greensill said the onus fell on the company to defend its record.

"If people are using it (the South Grafton Aerodrome) and if we believe they have a case to answer, at the end of the day they are the users and allegations against them are serious."

At an ordinary meeting in the Prince St Chambers on Tuesday, the Valley's councillors will have to decide if they agree with Mr Greensill.

Topics:  clarence valley council coffs city skydivers scott greensill south grafton aerodrome



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