Hotel investor Jerry Schwartz proposes helipad for Sofitel Darling Harbour

Debbie and Jerry Schwartz with their twin baby girls Amber and Lara (10 months)

Prominent Aussie hotel investor Dr Jerry Schwartz has launched a proposal for a Darling Harbour helipad in a bid to revive Sydney’s tourism and conventions profile.

Schwartz has unveiled plans for a permanent helipad on top of his 38-storey Sofitel Darling Harbour property, with discussions underway to determine its feasibility.

Currently, the only major public helipad services are located at Bankstown and Mascot, but heavily congested roads make them impracticable solutions for fast transfers to the Sydney CBD.

Schwartz said his proposed ‘Darling Harbour Helipad’ would be a boon for the rebound of Sydney’s tourism, and meetings and events scene.

“’Given the devastation to Sydney’s tourism and business economy as a result of coronavirus, there is no better time to introduce the concept of a CBD helipad to help revive the city’s economic fortunes,” he said.

“The world’s great cities such as London, Paris and New York have CBD helipads, and even Melbourne offers city helicopter transfers to the River Yarra helipad.

“Darling Harbour is designated as a dedicated tourism, convention and business precinct, which makes it’s the ideal location for a permanent helipad.”

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour (supplied)

The hospitality magnate said he envisaged world leaders could arrive at Sydney Airport and be flown direct to the Darling Harbour Helipad for addresses at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney.

“There’s no doubt that this infrastructure would significantly benefit Sydney’s business and convention profile and provide delegates attending the ICC and Sydney CBD the highest security, while also ensuring disruptions to city traffic are minimised,” Schwartz said.

“With coronavirus impacting all areas of life, economic stimulus needs to be a key component of the recovery process for Sydney.

“This forward-thinking proposal will help stimulate the local industry, establish Sydney as one of the world’s great convention cities, and boost business opportunities for all sectors.”

The proposed flight path will be finalised after consultation with appropriate regulatory and air traffic control authorities.

However, it is envisaged this will be developed based on the flight lanes of existing helicopter trips around the Sydney CBD and between Sydney Airport.

Schwartz added that investigations were underway to assess noise impact from the operations of the helipad including approach and landing, idling and take off.

Both community and stakeholders are being consulted and are invited to provide feedback at upcoming information sessions.

As the proposed rooftop helipad will be classified as an ‘aircraft facility’ under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation (2000), an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared and lodged with the consent authority, the City of Sydney Council, for consideration.

Once the EIS is placed on public exhibition, the public will be able to lodge comments with the City of Sydney.

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