Increased rental puts hangar use in doubt

There might be a couple of years left for Rev Colin Hay, but the dream might also be over.

For the past 12 years, the 77-year-old retired Presbyterian minister and aviation enthusiast has - under the auspices of Heritage and Sport Aviation North Otago - tried to drum up some interest in the hangar he built at Oamaru Airport.

However, this year, the ground rate he pays to the Waitaki District Council has increased from $575 to $1725 a year.

"I sent them a letter and told them I paid it `reluctantly'," Mr Hay said.

"It is a big hike, but the thing that niggled me was the registered valuer [used by the council]. As though they thought the hangar was theirs and they were leasing it out to me - that's the impression I got."

In the 38th quarterly newsletter of Heritage and Sport Aviation North Otago he called the council's move "something of a shock".

"It's only the dirt under the building I was renting, so why did the value of the hangar need to come into the equation?"

The future of the Rev Colin Hay's hangar at Oamaru Airport is uncertain after the ground rate he...
The future of the Rev Colin Hay's hangar at Oamaru Airport is uncertain after the ground rate he pays more than doubled this year. PHOTO: HAMISH MACLEAN

Mr Hay came into some money when his brother died and decided if he bought an aircraft he needed to have somewhere to put it.

But he had also hoped to cater to youth involved with the Air Training Corps and "also older bods that wanted somewhere to come and potter around and do something".

The 12m by 18m hangar is filled with a newly purchased aircraft plane, a couple under construction, models, and a wealth of memorabilia.

"I've got plans for building all sorts of home-built aircraft," he said. "There's no great sweat in building any of these things - it's a lot of fun."

Yet nothing regular had eventuated at the hangar and after he paid his first year of the new rates, he also "started to wheedle out my collection of aviation books many from the days when I reviewed aviation books for the Otago Daily Times, and the first consignment is earmarked for Rangitata Island, for the guys of the Geraldine Flying Group to pick their way through.

"I guess it is time to end the dream and gracefully grow old with some wonderful memories," he said.

"The thing I really would like is some interest in the place - so it's doing something for somebody."

The Waitaki District Council was approached for comment yesterday, but did not reply before press time.


Pretty standard practice for councils all around the country I would think, thinking they own something (and sucking money out of it) when they don't.