Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Hangar Owners Vindicated

The owners of two long term hangars on the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome were vindicated today in the Supreme Court in Sydney when they won their battle to keep the caveats in place over the aerodrome because Richmond Valley Council failed to bring renewal of their leases to completion.

The two long term hangars on the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome (red arrows) have been used for hangar storage for many years.  This picture was taken at the Great Eastern Fly-In in 2005 and is courtesy of SKYCAM who gave the pictures to the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee to use as required.  Thank you SKYCAM

The owners of two long term hangars on the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome (see picture above) were vindicated today in the Supreme Court in Sydney when they won their battle to keep the caveats they had in place to protect their interests were confirmed by the Court.

The owners of the hangars had been trying to get their leases renewed and registered for years and had paid the necessary fees but for reasons unknown to Valley Watchdog Richmond Valley Council had consistently failed to renew and register them.  Whether Council wanted them off the aerodrome altogether or the purchaser of the whole aerodrome wanted them off or moved elsewhere has not been made public but the reasons for council’s refusal should be made clear to the public so that council can be held to account for  its actions.

Council threatened to take the owners to court if they failed to lift the caveats and the owners took up the challenge and won. 

 

So the caveats remain in place and could do so until 2028 unless council finally comes to the party and signs off and registers the leases or makes some other arrangement that accommodates the hangar lease holders.

The hangar owners have agreed to sign a Heritage Agreement for the site which is an agreement between the State Government and Richmond Valley Council to provide funding for the upkeep of the aerodrome and heritage interpretation of the site (see below) as well as a range of other conditions put in place by the NSW Heritage Council, joint consent authority for the site. The Aerodrome was listed on the NSW State Heritage Register in November 2002

heritage agreement

Heritage Agreement signed off by the Minister and Council in 2011.  The Agreement needed the signatures of the Hangar Owners

The first page of the Heritage Agreement setting out the matters of the agreement

The first page of the Heritage Agreement setting out the matters of the agreement.  Unfortunately the Agreement is now out of date as the proponent for the retirement village RSL LifeCare withdrew from the proposed development and is problematic from the point of view of noise issues.

The caveats should not affect the delivery of the F-111 to Evans Head and a restored historic Bellman Hangar near the other two hangars where it will be housed.

Hangars 1 and 2 involved in the Supreme Court Case and the  historic Bellman Hangar where the F-111 will be housed once it is restored

Hangars 1 and 2 involved in the Supreme Court Case and the historic Bellman Hangar next to Hangar 2 where the F-111 will be housed once it is restored

Minister Jason Clare, Minister for Defence Materiel came to Evans Head on 18 October 2012 to announce the delivery of a retired F-111 or "pig" as they are affectionately known for the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome.  Minister Clare is shown here with Dr Richard Gates, President of the Evans Head Living Museum who presented the Minister with Wings at War, a history of Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome during World War II.  The Museum will be involved in the management of the displayed aircraft which is scheduled to be in place by August this year.

Minister Jason Clare, Minister for Defence Materiel came to Evans Head on 18 October 2012 to announce the delivery of a retired F-111 or “pig” as they are affectionately known for the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome. Minister Clare is shown here with Dr Richard Gates, President of the Evans Head Living Museum who presented the Minister with Wings at War, a history of Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome during World War II. The Museum will be involved in the management of the displayed aircraft which is scheduled to be in place by August this year.

The Court awarded costs against Council.  Ratepayers will yet again have to foot the bill for what appears to be a poor management decision.

Council also lost another case last year which will cost ratepayers a substantial amount although it would appear that the full amount is not yet known as the Court has yet to ascertain the legal costs which Council will have to pay including the legal costs of the other side in the case

Council has had to fork out a lot for legal bills over many years including the failed Iron Gates matter which cost, we understand, close to a million dollars in legal fees.

Perhaps Council needs to review the provision of legal services and the advice it is receiving.  Certainly the ratepayers deserve an explanation for such a history.

Prior to the case going to Court the General Manager of Richmond Valley Council, John Walker spoke on ABC Radio about the matter.

There is little doubt that this is a victory for the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome, the hangar owners and the preservation of aviation and the World War II history of this important site.

As one of the hangar owners Halden Boyd noted after the case:  “This is a victory for the Men and Women who served at Evans Head during World War II.  Lest We Forget”

This entry was posted in Evans Head, F-111, hangar owners, John Walker General Manager, Legal Action, News, Richmond Valley Council, Supreme Court and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.