Wing has lodged a development application for a site in Mitchell, Canberra, that it intends to use as its first long-term base of operations. The site was being developed as a warehouse, and with a few slight modifications, it can be made into a drone delivery facility.
The development application of the approved warehouse is to:
- Change the Building Classification from Class 7b (warehouse) to Class 8 (factory)
- Make minor amendments to the primary façade
- Reduce of the existing plant room / store
- Construct a new pump room and above ground water tank
- Relocate and enlarge the waste enclosure
- Install additional site services
The application includes the following information
‘Wing is applying to develop its first long-term base of operations in the world in the Mitchell area of Canberra. Block 27 Section 38 Mitchell (the Mitchell Site) will allow Wing to operate in a properly-zoned industrial area, which will allow Wing to provide better service to local customers and to create more economic opportunities for local businesses while showcasing what a future of faster, safer and more environmentally responsible delivery service looks like. Wing proposes to use the Mitchell Site to provide shelter and utilities to its operations. The existing warehouse at the Mitchell Site will be retrofitted to accommodate Wing’s drones and drone charging pads. Wing also plans to co-locate their drone operations at the Mitchell Site with a small number of food merchants, health and over-the-counter medicine merchants, as well as small businesses from the Mitchell and Gungahlin area. Co-locating these merchants next to a drone operating area will allow Wing to deliver goods to customers more quickly, minimising drone flight times, and allow Canberra businesses to reach customers in a new way.
Like all drone and aircraft operators, Wing is regulated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). To operate in suburbs, Wing must meet the highest international standards of safety and all operations can only be performed with CASA’s explicit approval. Wing has proven the safety and reliability of its drone technology over tens of thousands of test flights and has been conducting trials in Australia since 2014. Over the past 18 months, Wing has completed more than 2,000 deliveries of food, small convenience items and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals to the homes of hundreds of residents in the Fernleigh Park, Royalla and Tuggeranong communities in three separate trials.
Drone delivery offers considerable benefit to the Canberra community. Modelling that has been commissioned estimates that drone delivery could reduce traffic congestion in the ACT by 35 million vehicle kilometres each year, which also could mean the avoidance of up to 70 road accidents annually, and a significant reduction in CO² levels. And for the 13,000 disabled and 6,700 elderly people living in the ACT who may need assistance with mobility, this technology will help make Canberra a far more accessible and convenient place to live.
Whilst there are no statutory consultation requirements applicable to this Application under the Planning and Development Act 2007, Wing has elected to undertake an extensive consultation process. This process is focussed on Wing’s proposed approach to drone delivery (rather than the minor amendments to the building as outlined in this document) to best understand what the community would most value in a drone delivery service, and to address concerns and questions about this new method of delivery.
The consultation commenced in October 2018 with the suburbs surrounding Mitchell, and has included community drop-in sessions, distributing flyers, and door-knock consultation activities with direct neighbours. In addition to these activities, Wing has been extensively soliciting feedback from its trials in the Canberra region over the past 18 months, and this feedback will be incorporated into the drone delivery service Wing plans to operate from the Mitchell Site.’
The full development application (DA 201834859) can be viewed and commented on here: planning.act.gov.au/development_applications/pubnote