When a Google subsidiary picked the leafy suburb of Bonython to trial its drone delivery service, it had no idea what it was in for.
In 2018, Wing delivery started flying coffees and burritos to a handful of test users in the south Canberra suburb.
But it wasn't long before the community organised itself to complain about the noise.
Nev Sheather was picked as the community representative and he started the group Bonython Against Drones (BAD).
I am amazed by how well resourced and committed BAD were. They made complaints to all the local lawmakers, to the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA), to Wing, and to the media.
They collected over 1000 signatures and conducted a door knock survey which found 80 per cent of Bonythonites were against the drones.
They surfaced Freedom Of Information requests revealing how eager the ACT government had been to invite and welcome Wing to Canberra.
Through their research they were able to point to ACT laws that technically would make the drone trial illegal. But the drones aren't regulated under local law, they are legislated under CASA at a federal level.
But Bonython Against Drones made a lot of noise and they were heard.
In 2019, following the backlash, the ACT Legislative Assembly held an inquiry into drone delivery systems in the territory.
As you can imagine BAD made multiple submissions to the inquiry.
The trial in Bonython ended earlier than planned. BAD considers that a win.
But then Wing moved north and set up a permanent operation in Canberra.
On the latest episode of the Voice of Real Australia podcast we ask why Canberra was chosen as a testing ground for the emerging drone industry and how the service flies under the radar.
As far as Nev is concerned the Bonython trial was a failure so Wing shouldn't be flying anywhere in Canberra at all.
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