It appears that there may have been some "confusion" regarding the approval sought, and that official approval may not have been given in the first place, and that the reason for refusing access to the airfield at this time was not necessarily as inflexible as it appeared. An attempt to rectify the situation has been made and a tacit approval has been given to the organisation referred to for the holding of a flyin at Wigram in mid October.
On Sunday coming, the Canterbury Recreational Aircraft Club (of which I am a member) had planned to have a flyin to Wigram, permission was sought and thought to be obtained from Ngai Tahu, and it had also been discussed with airfield inhabitants who were supportive and looking forward to us all visiting etc. Today, the member of our club who was organising this received a call from Ngai Tahu revoking the permission.
In short, Jan Higgens, the current person in charge of Wigram Aerodrome Ltd was uncompromising and said that all 'non resident' Wigram aircraft were forbidden to land as of the 1st of September 2008 because "a lot of development is going on; restricting the landing areas".
The NOTAM I blogged about a few days ago merely indicated that permission needed to be sought, it is now clear that you can ask, but you won't get said permission. I guess they figured the media would attend the Canterbury Aero Club flyin last Sunday and so elected to let it proceed rather than get bad press.
I understand that yesterday the plan change became effective. No doubt this is not coincidental.
I can't embed this here for some reason, but it's fitting at this point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSJamm327gE
As perhaps a final followup to the attempts to get some common sense drummed into the council, Denis Hampton, on behalf largely of Steve Campbell at the Chch Flying School had made a submission a little while ago to the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman, for those who are not familiar with the term, is the independant office intended to provide oversight and investigation into the decisions of government, local and central.
The submission called on the Ombudsman to review the report which the council had based it's decision on and if they found as we believe the report to be fundamentally flawed in it's portrayal of Wigram as a dead airfield (the reasons for which this belief was held have been previously written in this blog, and were of course included in said submission) that they should recommend a course of action to the council which would see the whole process reviewed.
Today Denis received a reply from the Ombudsman's assistant to inform that the matter would not be investigated further as it appears the Ombudsman does not have the power to do so when the "full council" has made a decision, it can only investigate sub committees, individual members, officers and employees.
One wonders who can provide oversight to the full council when they make terrible uninformed decisions.
Other related posts:
So long old friend.
"Sky High" At Wigram
CEO of NZ Flying School (Wigram) standing for Electorate
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