Mayor, coun­cil fail to back tourism ini­tia­tive

South Waikato News - - OPINION -

I wish to thank his wor­ship Neil Sinclair, South Waikato mayor for re­mind­ing us all in last week’s South Waikato News that it is in­deed a crim­i­nal of­fence for any per­son (man, woman or child) to fly a toy plane, he­li­copter or kite in a park or re­serve . . . or in­deed, even in their own back yard in the Toko­roa town­ship.

How sad it is that the mayor and his coun­cil­lors choose to place the fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests of a Hamil­ton-based business (CTC flight school) ahead of the rights of Toko­roa’s own res­i­dents and in­deed, ahead of an ini­tia­tive that would bring tourists from all over the coun­try and the world, flock­ing to Toko­roa to fly model air­craft.

I re­fer to the Toko­roa Model Park ini­tia­tive, a plan to turn what is a vir­tu­ally dis­used air­field, and a drain on ratepay­ers’ pock­ets, into an in­ter­na­tional tourist at­trac­tion in Toko­roa.

In­stead of em­brac­ing this bold ini­tia­tive that hun­dreds of peo­ple around the world have pledged a five-fig­ure sum to cre­ate, the mayor seems to think it bet­ter that we con­tinue to turn our chil­dren into crim­i­nals ev­ery time they fly a toy he­li­copter or kite in a park or res­i­den­tial back yard.

Ratepay­ers ought to be more than a lit­tle wor­ried that the Hamil­ton-based flight school con­cerned pays noth­ing to use an as­set that costs ratepay­ers more than $30,000 a year to main­tain, and which com­mu­nity groups have to pay a hefty fee to use.

This flight school em­ploys no­body in the dis­trict, pays no rates, spends no money with lo­cal busi­nesses, brings no­body to the dis­trict, and pays no fees for air­field use – and has never done so, de­spite us­ing the fa­cil­ity for many years. Why is that?

How sad that this coun­cil for­bids, or crim­i­nalises, the sim­ple plea­sures that so many of us en­joyed in our own youth. In a low-in­come dis­trict like Toko­roa, per­haps more ready ac­cess to such pas­times would help re­duce the prob­lems we have with bored chil­dren get­ting into mis­chief for lack of an in­no­cent, en­joy­able, af­ford­able hobby.

We should be en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to take up hob­bies, and we should be ask­ing why peo­ple from one of New Zealand’s low­est­in­come ar­eas are sub­si­dis­ing NZ’s largest flight school. Bruce Simp­son, Toko­roa

(Abridged) land amid driver train­ing classes of cars on run­way when white crosses at each end of tar­mac in­di­cate to planes ‘‘the strip is booked and closed to planes’’.

The coun­cil is at­tack­ing kites in parks while the real trav­esty is an­nual plan sub­mis­sions are be­ing ig­nored year after year for a de-listed air­port in Toko­roa sav­ing $200,000 and $30,000 of ratepay­ers money a year. The mayor has tripped over, with the kite string tan­gled around his feet in the plas­tic foam toy chil­dren’s mod­els, inside 4km of the air­field.

R Young, Toko­roa (Abridged) erected which could ben­e­fit busi­nesses in our town.

Toko­roa is a town the NZTA treats with ab­so­lute dis­tain. What other town al­lows the max­i­mum traf­fic speed within its town bound­aries.

When I take State High­way 1 and want to turn left into East Park­dale St, sur­pris­ingly I have to slow down, traf­fic trav­el­ling past me at 100kmh with­out fail do so by trav­el­ling on the painted hatched area, which is against the law.

Yet when asked how we could be safe (and wish­ing to go south) from ve­hi­cles com­ing through this road junc­tion from the north, the dis­trict’s res­i­dent NZTA en­gi­neer said ‘‘to al­low those ve­hi­cles (trav­el­ling through) to pass on your left you should travel on the hatched area go­ing south’’, which is against the law.

How many of us have trav­elled north from town and no­ticed there is no sig­nage warn­ing of a road junc­tion (for East Park­dale St) so strangers go­ing through have no warn­ing of any kind that a prob­lem may be ahead.

There are suf­fi­cient haz­ards in this area with­out any bu­reau­cratic non­sense by some peo­ple who be­lieve they have to find ways of jus­ti­fy­ing their au­thor­ity.

John C Sim­cock, Toko­roa

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