Land­ing fees planned to cover air­port costs

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

A de­ci­sion to spend an es­ti­mated $ 274,000 re­seal­ing the Toko­roa Air­port has prompted the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil to im­pose land­ing fees.

The coun­cil was faced with a a de­ci­sion to sell or gift the air­port or re-seal it.

The seal is ex­pected to last 50 years and is planned to take place in the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year.

Hob’bs – chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig

Its fu­ture ap­pears to be se­cure with plans to im­ple­ment land­ing fees.

‘‘The main is­sue is that there is no land­ing fee as­so­ci­ated with air­craft us­ing the fa­cil­ity, and there­fore at the present time we gen­er­ate no rev­enue from air­craft use,’’ chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Hobbs said.

Strate­gic plan­ning manager Sarah Flavell said the in­vest­ment should prompt more en­force­ment on the man­age­ment.

‘‘The op­er­a­tional side of it needs to be re­solved, who is run­ning it and what depart­ment . . . we don’t want a man­age­ment plan that sits pretty on the shelf,’’ she said.

Hobbs said it is un­usual for an air­port not to have land­ing fees and in­ves­ti­ga­tions will take place on how it can be man­aged. An an­nual fee for regular users and a ca­sual fee were likely.

Mayor Neil Sin­clair said the rules needed to be fol­lowed as well.

The coun­cil was trou­bled with model air­craft users last year.

A ban came af­ter coun­cil as­sets group manager Roger Fisher sent a let­ter to the club in­form­ing it its mem­bers were banned from us­ing the Toko­roa Air­port af­ter re­ceiv­ing re­ports from Model Fly­ing NZ and the Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity that in­di­cate ‘‘ bla­tant mis­use of the air­port’’.

And club mem­ber Bruce Simp­son dis­puted the claim as he be­lieved it had not gone un­der proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

With the new re­seal planned, Sin­clair said the coun­cil ‘‘couldn’t af­ford’’ to put up with ‘‘ silly non­sense’’.

‘‘ We’re pro­vid­ing a fa­cil­ity, this is what we’re do­ing, you obey the rules.’’

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