Plea to save tower con­tin­ues

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

Health and safety re­quire­ments con­tinue to de­lay at­tempts to save the Toko­roa Air­field tower from de­mo­li­tion.

Dur­ing South Waikato mayor Jenny Shat­tock’s open pub­lic fo­rum on Thursday air­field user Gor­don Hud­son pleaded with the district coun­cil­lors to al­low him to carry out re­pair works on the 15-me­tre-high movie prop tower at his own cost.

But deputy mayor Jeff Gash said he was un­sure if health and safety re­quire­ments could be met if per­mis­sion was granted.

Last month the coun­cil dis­cussed pos­si­bly de­mol­ish­ing the dis­used tower which has be­come a lo­cal land­mark due to it fall­ing into dis­re­pair over the years and be­com­ing a safety risk.

Dur­ing the fo­rum Hud­son, who has ap­proached the coun­cil on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions of­fer­ing to pay for re­pair works, once again made the of­fer.

‘‘I have had an en­gi­neer out to have a look at it, it is all gal­vanised steel and there is only a weeny bit of sur­face rust,’’ he said.

‘‘It is very sound and very strong. It has got a good in­ter­nal stair­case up through it and it has a handrail around the out­side so it will be ex­tremely safe for any­one to do any paint work.’’

Deputy mayor Jeff Gash thanked Hud­son for his of­fer but said he was still con­cerned about health and safety re­quire­ments be­ing meet.

‘‘My con­cern is around the health and safety of any­one work­ing on the struc­ture at heights and whether you are able to meet those re­quire­ments,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a big part of the pro­posal to go back to the air­field users [for dis­cus­sion about the tower’s fu­ture] and I am not sure if you are able to do that.’’

Hud­son said he would need guid­ance on what was re­quired.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Hobbs also ques­tioned Hud­son on whether the en­gi­neer’s as­sess­ment was in writ­ing.

‘‘I don’t dis­pute the abil­ity of your friend to make that as­sess­ment but cer­tainly from a health and safety per­spec­tive we will need some­thing a bit more for­mal,’’ he said.

Hud­son said he was will­ing to co­op­er­ate.

Toko­roa Air­field users David Rio, Bruce Simp­son, and Gor­don Hud­son want to save the air­field’s tower.

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