A new Northland emergency services rescue helicopter base in Whangārei could cost as much as $8 million.
Craig Gibbons, Northland Emergency Services Trust (NEST) CEO, said neighbours' noise concerns and a helicopter base that had become too small meant searching for a new option.
He said a new purpose-built Whangārei base, ideally within half an hour of the city's hospital, would be investigated.
Gibbons said the Kensington site was one of the smallest of its type in New Zealand and NEST had outgrown the space.
The shift will be its since the trust started in 1988.
Gibbons said the new site would need to be at least double Kensington's size and was likely to cost as much as $8m.
He said Northlanders could be among those asked to fund a new trust base. Other
funding options would be investigated too.
It was essential Northlanders had a locally-based emergency rescue helicopter site, he added.
Northland ratepayers and general public have already forked out more than $13.5m towards helicopters and NEST's operation.
Ratepayers have paid $10m for the rescue helicopter operation through major funder Northland Regional Council (NRC) rates and ratepayers along with the wider community more than $3.5m through major annual fundraising appeals.
NEST's major funder NRC in 2017 voted to loan NEST almost $10m via a loan from the Local Government Funding Agency.
Former NRC councillor NEST chairman John Bain took part in that vote, saying there was no conflict of interest because it was being decided two years after he ceased being NEST chair.
NRC voted to loan NEST $4.5m in 2017/208, (which was topped up with US$1.6m from NEST's helicopter replacement fund) and $5.1m for the second chopper in 2019/20.
Gibbons said Whangārei's Onerahi airport was one option for a new base, but that wasn't an easy fix because the helicopters' presence was right on the edge of noise production limits for that location and surrounding residents would likely object to its presence.
He said residents around Onerahi airport were effectively stopping NEST from solving the problem for affected Kensington base residents.
Whangārei's Port area was another option, but that was earmarked for housing.
"We need a suitable place with flat land, maybe in an industrial area," Gibbons said.
Marsden Point was another option, although it was getting beyond the ideal 20-30 minute drive time from Whangārei hospital.
Whangārei's former money factory at Awaroa River Rd, off Riverside had been considered as another option, but it was surrounded by hills.
■ Since news broke on Friday that the rescue helicopter base will have to move the reaction on social media has largely been people wanting it to stay where it is.