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Thames Airfield

The unacceptable and continuing saga surrounding this rate-payer subsidised facility must be brought to head without delay. It is patently obvious that what was described yesterday as a "strategic facility" is far from that. It is nothing more that a giant boondoggle benefiting a small number of our ratepayer base, and a few commercial operators who continuously demand better facilities (upgraded infrastructure in other words) but benefit regardless to the extent that they are unwilling to move elsewhere.

The net operating loss on airport operations for the year was $60,552.59 after a revenue shortfall of $4,399, and cost overrun of $5,364. That works out to $11.30 per ratepayer. Strat indicated that he had had further discussions with Geoff Furkett about taking over the management of the facility. But although he gave no indication of the tenor of those discussions, we know from past experience that Mr Furkett is only interested in taking it over if the Board (Council) undertake to complete several hundred thousands worth of upgrades to waste and stormwater, communications, and other facilities. It may well add up to over a million before his requirements were met. I don't happen to think that is a good deal for Thames rate-payers, but we will see what emerges in that regard.

What is clear, is that current users will need to come to the party in order to reduce the deficit to more reasonable proportions that this town can afford, or come up with a better way of providing the necessary revenue. Because of drainage problems, the field is unable to provide continuous access during the winter months, but getting it up to standard should not be the responsibility of our rate-payers - that is for sure. I for one am not the slighest bit interested in paying even $11.30 each year in order to keep this facility open, and I imagine that most other rate-payers would feel the same way. 




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