Work should begin soon at the Airport Control Tower at long last.
DML has the contract to sweeten up the building in what is stage two of the tower's restoration.
All the relevant documents should have been prepared and signed by now so work should start on completion of the cab level (observation deck and safety rail) and replacement of the first and second floor exterior cladding. The ground floor and everything below it will be done at a later date, funding permitting.
Possession of the site by the contractor should happen on August 4 (Friday) assuming all the red tape has been complied with to the satisfaction of the Whanganui District Council.
If everything goes to plan, completion date should be before Christmas this year.
It has been a long time coming, and thanks is due to the Airport Control Tower Restoration Group and the patience and planning of their key personnel. By their efforts the cab (top floor) has been restored and refurbished and the rest will happen in the near future.
Whanganui's Airport Control Tower was the prototype for all the others around the country and its restoration will give us a heritage building with new purpose. We may not have air traffic controllers based in Whanganui any more but the tower will be put to good use when it is ready.
The first sign that things have the green light will be the sudden appearance of scaffolding around the tower.
Flight anniversary
While on the subject of airports, yesterday marks one year since Air Chathams began providing a service between Whanganui and Auckland. They bravely took over after Air New Zealand, our so-called national carrier, succumbed to corporate greed and withdrew from Whanganui in favour of the more lucrative metro markets. They would have us believe that providing a service to Whanganui was unprofitable, but Air Chathams is proving them wrong. But we already knew that. We didn't refurbish the terminal, put in a café and resurface the runway just to drive to Palmerston North to catch a plane.
Air Chathams has done us proud and I hope they get it that we are grateful. In turn, Whanganui people make use of their service (and the Timtams) in the hope that their presence here is long term. Nearly every day we hear testimony to the good service provided by Air Chathams, and it's often from people surprised to find that Air NZ is not the only airline operating in this country.