20 Mar 2010

Heliport stays open: developer feels betrayed

8:17 pm on 20 March 2010

The Westland District Council is defending its decision to keep its heliport open, saying it's what the community wants.

A Franz Josef developer, Gavin Molloy, says that the council has led him up the garden path, by repeatedly assuring him it would close its heliport as soon as his was operational, and he feels betrayed.

Mr Molloy has built a replacement heliport north of the township, which he intended to open when the other facility closed.

But Westland Mayor Maureen Pugh says there's no reason the two heliports can't coexist, which would actually be good for tourism.

Mr Molloy says he will still open his heliport in a fortnight but hasn't ruled out taking legal action against the council.

The council voted 8-3 vote to keep the heliport open, despite saying four times over the past six years that it would be closed because of flood risks.

Ms Pugh says the decision is a reflection of what the community wants.