Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 26, 2022 6:58:51 GMT 12
WWII 'treasures' could see light of day as councillors back expansion plans Maia Hart Local Democracy Reporter 16:31, Mar 25 2022
The World War II exhibition at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is a step closer to doubling in size. BRYA INGRAM/STUFF
The World War II exhibition at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is a step closer to doubling in size, after a council committee agreed to help fund the $5 million expansion.
Councillors at a planning and finance meeting on Thursday voted to loan the Marlborough centre up to $1.7 million, if the centre could show it had the rest of the money first.
The centre, owned and operated by The New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust, had already asked the Lottery Significant Projects Fund for money. The projects fund could supply up to 60 per cent, or in this case close to $3m. If that comes through, some “other fundraising” should see the centre over the line.
Centre chief executive Jane Orphan told councillors at the meeting the expansion would mean their World War II exhibition was the same size as their World War I exhibition.
Orphan said they were under “significant pressure” to display WWII aircraft of national significance. They had been approached by the John Smith Collection to become “guardians”.
The collection of original WWII New Zealand aircraft, preserved by the late John Smith of Mapua, was widely recognised amongst the international aviation community.
“It should be regarded as a national treasure to be preserved, housed and displayed,” Orphan said.
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre chief executive Jane Orphan is “delighted” by councillors’ unanimous support for their plans. SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
She said their ability to operate as an evening venue was also limited to 320 people, but by expanding this could increase to as many as 900 people.
“This is investment,” she said. “The day-to-day operations we manage ourselves, it will build on that revenue stream, and we will continue to operate in surplus.”
A report prepared for the meeting said the centre was identified as a “key contributor” to future tourism in the council’s economic development and destination management plans.
It said applications to the Lottery fund required support from the local council. It said the trust wanted to get funding confirmed and contracts in place, to avoid any escalation of costs.
The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre plans to expand their WWII exhibition out the back of the building. SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
Marlborough Mayor John Leggett said the loan application should really have been dealt with as an annual plan submission, and be subject to that process, but they were under time constraints.
“It’s quite simple, the application [to the Lottery fund] ... has time frames, and requires this council to signal its support. The trust quite rightly wants to move on this project,” Leggett said.
“We know a lot about the Aviation Trust, and its value to the Marlborough community.”
Marlborough Mayor John Leggett supports the expansion of the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
Speaking after the meeting, Orphan said she was delighted by the unanimous support from councillors. However, the loan still had to be signed off by full council in April.
“If we can secure that money from the council, then we've got a good chance with Lotteries to receive the balance and bring in a substantial investment into Marlborough,” Orphan said.
“There are a few things the council wants to check on. It's not all signed and sealed, but it's very close, so we're very hopeful that it will all come together.”
The council also had to decide if it would underwrite the loan or take the money from reserves.
A concrete slab for Omaka’s other project – a new hangar – is poured on Friday. SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
Meanwhile, Orphan said the concrete slab for the centre’s new hangar was being poured on Friday.
The structure had been funded with revenue from the Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow.
“That's being done separately, but that will be used as a workshop primarily and storage hangar,” she said.
“That's one of those milestones. So when we come to be building exhibits and doing all sorts of things for this major expansion, that workshop will be invaluable for storing materials for carrying offsite.”
Orphan thanked the community, volunteers and council for their ongoing support.
Any council funding towards the $5m expansion would not impact on this year’s proposed rates rise, of 5.37 per cent.
Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
does anyone know what happened the database of NZ fighter pilots that NZFPM used to have online?? think the webpage is long gone
If you go to a website called 'Wayback Machine' at web.archive.org/ (link) and then type in the URL of the old website you're looking for it will return all the dates of when that website was 'captured'. Selecting a date will take you to that snapshot in time where you can see the original website, and if lucky the links will mostly work as well. A great resource for all those long-lost websites... This is the NZFPM one to copy and paste in the 'Wayback Machine' URL - www.nzfpm.co.nz/article.asp?id=aces (don't click on this link but copy and paste it otherwise you'll get the 'NZ Farm Product Management' site) to get to the list of fighter pilots/aces...