Tall or­der for tower at air­field

South Waikato News - - Front Page -

Air­field tower could be de­mol­ished.


Toko­roa Air­field users are fu­ri­ous coun­cil staff have con­sid­ered de­mol­ish­ing an iconic 1980s movie prop tower with­out con­sult­ing them.

The 15-me­tre-high tower, which was built for a ‘‘Cana­dian’’ set movie, is a lo­cal land­mark but has fallen into dis­re­pair over the years and has been deemed a safety risk by the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil which owns it.

Due to high re­pair costs, a struc­tural en­gi­neer’s re­port alone is es­ti­mated to cost be­tween $5000 to $10,000, and, amidst on­go­ing safety con­cerns, As­set Group man­ager Ted An­der­son has deemed de­mo­li­tion to be the most fea­si­ble op­tion.

‘‘Essen­tially we have in­her­ited the con­struc­tion and we have not in­vested in its up­keep. We need to make a call to try and re­ha­bil­i­tate it...or re­move it,’’ he said.

‘‘It does not serve any pur­pose.’’

But dur­ing the coun­cil’s Com­mu­nity and As­sets Com­mit­tee meet­ing on Thurs­day deputy mayor Jeff Gash ques­tioned An­der­son on whether staff had ac­tu­ally con­sulted with those who use the air­field so their views could be con­sid­ered by coun­cil­lors be­fore a de­ci­sion was made. An­der­son said they had not.

Air­field users Gor­don Hud­son and Bruce Simp­son said they were flab­ber­gasted.

Simp­son, who has a hanger at the air­field, said the tower was an as­set to the town and it had reached mil­lions of po­ten­tial vis­i­tors and in­vestors through his Youtube chan­nel’s RCMODELREVIEWS and XJET.

‘‘Last time i checked my Youtube chan­nels were close to 90 mil­lion views. This is a fa­mous part of Toko­roa which, ev­ery day, is mar­ket­ing the town to the world,’’ he said.

Hud­son said he was an­noyed be­cause he’d of­fered to pay to fix it sev­eral times.

‘‘They keep say­ing they don’t have a bud­get to fix it up but I’ve said what do you want a bud­get for? I am pre­pared to pay for it,’’ he said.

‘‘It is an icon, mil­lions of peo­ple around the world have seen it. What they hell is wrong with the coun­cil?’’

Dur­ing the coun­cil’s meet­ing coun­cil­lor Thomas Lee said he wanted it re­moved and fel­low coun­cil­lor Bill Machen then tried to move the mo­tion.

But deputy mayor Jeff Gash stepped in and said con­sul­ta­tion needed to take place first.

Coun­cil­lor Marin Glu­cina sup­ported Gash.

‘‘It would be a dan­ger­ous move from the coun­cil to just go and take that down be­cause we are go­ing to be heaped with lots of crit­i­cism,’’ he said.

The de­ci­sion was de­ferred.

‘‘Mil­lions of peo­ple around the world have seen it.’’


From left Toko­roa Air­field users David Rio, Bruce Simp­son, and Gor­don Hud­son.

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