Just a little update to the Tokoroa Airfield saga

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Re: Just a little update to the Tokoroa Airfield saga

Postby aardvark_admin » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:20 am

Anaru wrote:If I were you Bruce, I'd get the SAA technology to a stage of proof of concept, formulate a 12 to 24 month contract with a notable aerospace company that consists of a salary and their leasing and management of the entire airfield (looking at the council's numbers, they'd probably be happy with getting $45,000 a year and all is status quo for existing tenants).

I think it's pretty safe to say -- by their blatant ignoring of the only option that leverages the airfield for the benefit of the community and businesses of Tokoroa (ie: the model park) that *nothing* I proposed would get any consideration.

BAE Systems has already written to the CEO of the council expressing their interest in my work and requesting that I be given assistance in doing so by the council and that was utterly ignored. It's interesting to note that the director of CAA received the same letter and also completely ignored it.

There is some deep shirt happening here and speaks to the fact that Kerri Hulme was correct when she stated yesterday that "We have this strange cultural phenomenon called 'tall poppy syndrome'... If you stand out, you will be cut down" when speaking in defense of Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton's recent criticisms of the government.

I had organised a small consortium to lease the airfield over the summer -- so as to prove the viability of the model park to the SWDC by way of actual numbers of people and money spent in the district. The SWDC's response was to ignore my attempts to contact them over this matter in early December and then send all its executive staff on a 1 month holiday until this week so that nobody in a position of authority could be contacted.

The fact that they're thinking of *gifting* the gokart track and the dirtbike track to their respective clubs but won't even acknowledge all the hard work I've done to turn the all-but-disused airfield into a major tourist attraction, raising $40K in the process, seems to indicate that there is no pragmatism here, it's all about agendas and pettiness on the part of the council and its executive.
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Re: Just a little update to the Tokoroa Airfield saga

Postby goosemoose » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:39 am

aardvark_admin wrote:...that effectively said "return to zero, start again -- and we'll play this game all over -- with the same outcome".

...An exercise in futility if they have an agenda.

Keep doing it. Resend in the forms, reapply etc, go and see the minister again and again and again and again. Sooner or later you're going to get a yes or they're going to break the law. Don't stop. A chore I know but to get anywhere you have to keep going.
aardvark_admin wrote:I think it's pretty safe to say -- by their blatant ignoring of the only option that leverages the airfield for the benefit of the community and businesses of Tokoroa (ie: the model park) that *nothing* I proposed would get any consideration.
.
Thats because they going to sell it, to a buyer they've already got lined up. Keep a close eye on the affairs of certain councilors. One of them will be swapping their early model Merc for a very late model one any day now.
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Re: Just a little update to the Tokoroa Airfield saga

Postby aardvark_admin » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:01 am

goosemoose wrote:Thats because they going to sell it, to a buyer they've already got lined up. Keep a close eye on the affairs of certain councilors. One of them will be swapping their early model Merc for a very late model one any day now.

That suggestion has already been made by several people in the district who say they have seen it all happen before.
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Re: Just a little update to the Tokoroa Airfield saga

Postby Anaru » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:21 am

aardvark_admin wrote:I think it's pretty safe to say -- by their blatant ignoring of the only option that leverages the airfield for the benefit of the community and businesses of Tokoroa (ie: the model park) that *nothing* I proposed would get any consideration.


The concept of a model park doesn't make sense because there is no other example to measure expectations against, if you could demonstrate the commercial success of another model park somewhere else in the world you might get momentum. Dragging cars up and down the runway makes sense because the opportunity is relatively simple, people want to drive their cars fast and in the process the organisers will pay for the privilege of doing so on their behalf in the way of fees to the council.

aardvark_admin wrote:BAE Systems has already written to the CEO of the council expressing their interest in my work and requesting that I be given assistance in doing so by the council and that was utterly ignored. It's interesting to note that the director of CAA received the same letter and also completely ignored it.


A letter is a letter, money is money. If you give someone a letter they might read it. If you give someone money they'll ask what it is that you want.

aardvark_admin wrote:There is some deep shirt happening here and speaks to the fact that Kerri Hulme was correct when she stated yesterday that "We have this strange cultural phenomenon called 'tall poppy syndrome'... If you stand out, you will be cut down" when speaking in defense of Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton's recent criticisms of the government.


To be blunt, they see you as a problem, most people of their nature deal with their problems by ignoring them. You see yourself and what you're offering as an opportunity, they don't.

aardvark_admin wrote:I had organised a small consortium to lease the airfield over the summer -- so as to prove the viability of the model park to the SWDC by way of actual numbers of people and money spent in the district. The SWDC's response was to ignore my attempts to contact them over this matter in early December and then send all its executive staff on a 1 month holiday until this week so that nobody in a position of authority could be contacted.


I'll be blunt again, poor expectation management, contacting the council that probably went into holiday mode in October/November about a matter in December isn't going to get momentum. If you had of said to the council earlier in the year, we want to lease the airfield over the summer, they would of come back with a whole lot of hoops to jump through: You'd need plans, proof/certificate of insurance, contacts, a bond, etc, etc. It's always best to have someone acting for you in an official capacity as well, I know it's a bit of bullshit but the $100 odd to register a LLC, retaining a lawyer for their letter head, a domain name with a brief website promoting the intent and scope of the idea would go a long way.

It's actually a good idea too, imagine the write up in the paper if it was a success in having a few dozen or hundreds of people there watching the flying and enjoying a good day. Then the little side stories about people that have come from half a world away to have a blat around the Tokoroa airfield. It'd build sentiment and profile, the people that see you as a problem would start to soften. But they'd still want to see cold hard cash.[/quote]

aardvark_admin wrote:The fact that they're thinking of *gifting* the gokart track and the dirtbike track to their respective clubs but won't even acknowledge all the hard work I've done to turn the all-but-disused airfield into a major tourist attraction, raising $40K in the process, seems to indicate that there is no pragmatism here, it's all about agendas and pettiness on the part of the council and its executive.


Not really, sure it sounds a bit off but in reality from their perspective given the circumstances of how they'd formulate their decisions it's actually quite sensible. They have a significant asset which costs money, they could give most of the land away as an investment to the community through the facilities already using the land. Then those facilities would need to pay rates, one hopes, and there would probably be some funky accounting that allows them to offset the value of that land and turn it into a positive. Selling the airfield or leasing it would also make sense in that they'd further reduce their liability for its maintenance and more than likely still have it as an asset or facility for the community, it'd just be someone else's problem, and they'd get a chunk of change for it to put away into the bank.
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Re: Just a little update to the Tokoroa Airfield saga

Postby goosemoose » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:08 pm

Anaru wrote:Selling the airfield or leasing it would also make sense in that they'd further reduce their liability for its maintenance and more than likely still have it as an asset or facility for the community, it'd just be someone else's problem, and they'd get a chunk of change for it to put away into the bank.

Wow Anaru you're certainly an optimistic chap! I'm not, it'll be run into the ground then rezoned possibly as residential for a lifestyle development or farming. We're talking about politicians here.
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Re: Just a little update to the Tokoroa Airfield saga

Postby Anaru » Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:58 pm

goosemoose wrote:Wow Anaru you're certainly an optimistic chap! I'm not, it'll be run into the ground then rezoned possibly as residential for a lifestyle development or farming. We're talking about politicians here.


I'm more of a realist with an optimistic streak, in that I believe the saying "your attitude determines your altitude in life".

An optimist runs around a paddock flapping his arms knowing that flight is possible, while a realist knows the same but goes out, buys a plane and learns to fly it.

I don't think a re-zone to residential will ever be on the cards, there isn't enough growth in Tokoroa to sustain the existing property market, technically the whole South Waikato area is in a recession and has been for some time. Also, the other clubs that utilise the land would need to be moved and this is unlikely to happen as it is too good a location.

The airfield will in all probability remain, it just needs someone to see the opportunity or a business in the aerospace industry to come along and go "Hey, we're paying $100k per annum for a small corner of this airfield here, when we could be paying less than half that and have a whole airfield to ourselves!".

They'll scope the idea, perform a bit of due diligence, have their lawyer approach the council to make an unsolicited offer, the council will get all excited and enter into "formal negotiations" and after a bit of back and forth talk, maybe a few stupid concessions to make the council look good, we'll be reading in the paper about a new business in town that's taking over the airfield and how the vision of the council was instrumental in forming the deal that has huge prospects for the town. Then there'll probably be a bit of whinging in the letters to the editor, as it's revealed that the council forked out on resealing the runway just before the deal and gave the contract to one of the councillors relatives who just so happened to be the only one to submit a tender.

Failing that, status quo will probably reign.... Or will it...
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Re: Just a little update to the Tokoroa Airfield saga

Postby aardvark_admin » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:01 pm

Anaru wrote:The concept of a model park doesn't make sense because there is no other example to measure expectations against, if you could demonstrate the commercial success of another model park somewhere else in the world you might get momentum.

There is no analog of what we're proposing here because nowhere else do you have the synergy of my YouTube channels, my expertise, the airfield, the tower and the support of thousands of people from all over the world.

The sad thing is that I wanted to prove the concept to the SWDC at virtually no risk to them -- by leasing the airfield for 3 months over the summer and running the model park for that limited period -- so as to accumulate valuable data in respect to visitor numbers, total spend in the town and other factors.

Further proof of the bias and prejudice is that my approach in respect to this received no response at all.
[quoteA letter is a letter, money is money. If you give someone a letter they might read it. If you give someone money they'll ask what it is that you want.[/quote]
In normal circumstances you'd be right -- yet in this case, they ignore the $40K we have pledge from around the world so perhaps it's further proof of their prejudicial actions (or inactions) in respect to the model park initiative.

To be blunt, they see you as a problem, most people of their nature deal with their problems by ignoring them. You see yourself and what you're offering as an opportunity, they don't.

The problem is that they're adopting a strategy that may work with everyone else. Most people, when subjected to this kind of treatment, simply give up. I however, simply apply more effort to the situation and, unlike most people, I have a huge amount of "muscle" in the form of public support, as well as a very good understanding of the media (and social media) and how to leverage it to make a point. Eventually, when the noise gets too loud and lasts too long, they have to act -- especially when caught with their trousers down in respect to not following correct practice with the apparent attempt of derailing the democratic process in respect to the airfield's future.

I'll be blunt again, poor expectation management, contacting the council that probably went into holiday mode in October/November about a matter in December isn't going to get momentum. If you had of said to the council earlier in the year, we want to lease the airfield over the summer, they would of come back with a whole lot of hoops to jump through: You'd need plans, proof/certificate of insurance, contacts, a bond, etc, etc. It's always best to have someone acting for you in an official capacity as well, I know it's a bit of bullshit but the $100 odd to register a LLC, retaining a lawyer for their letter head, a domain name with a brief website promoting the intent and scope of the idea would go a long way.

This is my biggest gripe with government (local and central) bureaucracies. The seem to forget that in "the real world (tm)", time is the most valuable asset you have and lost time is lost money. From a bureaucrat's perspective, time is irrelevant. Their job will still be here, those waiting on their services will have nowhere else to go so they can take as long as they want. The result is the outrageously low productivity of these pencil-pushers. This must change... we ought not settle for such shoddy performance.

It's actually a good idea too, imagine the write up in the paper if it was a success in having a few dozen or hundreds of people there watching the flying and enjoying a good day. Then the little side stories about people that have come from half a world away to have a blat around the Tokoroa airfield. It'd build sentiment and profile, the people that see you as a problem would start to soften. But they'd still want to see cold hard cash.

The local paper has become a bit of a joke. It was an insightful, investigative paper under the previous editor but she's gone and the new girl seems to see this job as just "treading water" until something good comes along. She's not a journalist and appears to have settled for the easier style of simply printing whatever the council dishes out and not rattling any cages by reporting issues that paint the council in a bad light.

Very sad.

However, I have one thing going for me. At some stage, the SWDC may realise that it's cheaper, quicker and far more expedient to simply "buy me out". I'm going to propose that they make me an offer to purchase my lease and my workshop -- thus getting me off the airfield and out of their hair. If the offer is good enough, it will allow me to buy a little block of land outside the town and put up another workshop where I can fly without all the hassles. Do you reckon they'll go for it?

If they don't... well I'll just keep pouring on the pressure and raising the temperature :-)
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Re: Just a little update to the Tokoroa Airfield saga

Postby Anaru » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:48 pm

What would you actually prefer to do Bruce; establish a model park or bring the SAA stuff to fruition?
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Re: Just a little update to the Tokoroa Airfield saga

Postby aardvark_admin » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:53 am

I'd like to do both and both are attainable -- so long as bumbling bureaucrats step aside and allow commonsense and pragmatism to rule.

By doing the former I am empowered to do the latter so there is a dependency as well -- under the current circumstances.

I have reached the point were I need to fly models in the vicinity of my workshop but, because of CAA and SWDC regulations (and the petty politics of MFNZ), that is not possible. If the place was a model park then I would be allowed to fly models and thus progress my SAA work.

Fortunately there are plenty of volunteers to handle the day-to-day operation of the model park so most of my time could be dedicated to the SAA.
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Re: Just a little update to the Tokoroa Airfield saga

Postby aardvark_admin » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:17 pm

The saga continues...

This morning I received a call from the RSM (radio spectrum management) unit of government because they'd had a call from a former MFNZ president claiming that I was planning to transmit signals that could compromise the safety of RC Jets at the Tokoroa Airfield.

I spoke with Mr Mike Baird from the RSM for a while and, after I cited his organisation's own regulations to him, he agreed that there was no problem with my operations at the airfield and that the responsibility for ensuring that the band was safet to use by RC Jet fliers was entirely theirs. Sorry MFNZ, that was a fail.

Later in the day I went to a meeting with the SWDC CEO, asset manager and another member of the council executive. At that meeting I presented a risk assessment covering the flying of RC jets at the Tokoroa airfield, in light of the surrounding environment, the consequences of a crash and the probabilities involved. This document effectively puts the council on notice that there are some very significant risks which they must take into account when granting permission for this activity and recognising the fact that if they do not act to effectively mitigate the risks and the worst happens, they will carry the burden of liability.

The CEO of the SWDC then turned around and said to me that *if* something happens with a jet then *I* will be responsible because I threatened them.

WTF?

He seems to be of the opinion that because I have raised the issue of the risks associated with using the 2.4GHz band, in close proximity to residential properties and a primary school (with 2.4GHz equipment galore in all of those), then it will be my fault if a model crashes and damage or injury results.

His perspective is that CAA believes it is safe to fly RC jets at the airfield so they "must" be right.

Well excuse me... CAA also must have believed that it was "safe" for some dope-head to run commercial balloon flights in Carterton too -- and look how that turned out.

The SWDC seem intent on hiding behind CAA's skirt on this one and, when the inevitable happens, they will say "but CAA told us it was safe" -- and you can bet CAA will quickly deny such guarantees so as to sidestep the liability that would accompany them.

What's more, the SWDC has told me that they will be sending me a "cease and desist" letter, threatening action against me if I do not abandon my work when the jets are flying.

WTF?

As the RSM clearly agreed, my activities are *not* illegal and nor are they likely to affect any properly installed, maintained and tested RC model flying at the airfield. For the SWDC to threaten me -- simply because I intend to go about my lawful business is unacceptable.

When I queried the CEO about their disingenous claim to "support local businesses" he replied by claiming that he's seen no evidence that my business will do anything for the town. I asked if the SWDC only supported "selected" local businesses and he said "they have to have a business plan that meets our objectives".

So there you go folks, if you were thinking of setting up business in Tokoroa -- you can forget about any startups (because if it's not showing a huge profit the council doesn't think it's worth their support) and if your business plan doesn't otherwise pass scrutiny, you'll get zero support -- in fact, they might just demand you "cease and desist" your lawful activities for no reason other than they choose to.

Another interesting aside... the CEO told me that if I dare to fly in the parks again then I will be tresspassed immediately. When I asked why that was he stated that the SWDC can not allow me to break CAA regulations on one of their properties. When I showed him video of the local club *once again* breaking CAA regulations AT THE AIRFIELD and asked him if they would be tresspassed he said they were considering the matter and certain processes had to be gone through. Remember, they have been evidenced doing this for over two years now and yet the SWDC is still "going through processess" -- but will tresspass me *immediately*.

What a sad town with a petty bureaucracy that foresakes the interests of the community to pursue ridiculous personal agendas.

If the SWDC does serve the cease and desist order, I will immediately file countersuit for unreasonable prejudice against myself and my business activities, seeking to recover all the losses that I have incurred as a result of SWDC rule changes and decisions aimed directly at me and me alone, that have directly reduced or stopped my ability to trade.

The risk assessment I tabled at the meeting can be found here: http://tokoroaairfield.com/jetrisks.pdf
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