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Those who follow me on Google+ or subscribe to my XJet youtube channel will already be aware of a bold (some would say cheeky) initiative I kicked off yesterday.
I live in the town of Tokoroa, which has about 10,000 people and a world-famous (thanks to me) airfield.
The local council has had the airfield on its asset register for many years, having been gifted it by the former owner -- but so far, it has been a bit of a money-sink -- costing ratepayers a significant amount to maintain and operate.
Despite my previous attempts to bring aviation-related businesses and activities to the airfield, the old SWDC was always reluctant to embrace any new initiatives in this direction -- hence the airfield was left to just sit there, slowly rotting away.
Now we have new councilors and (I'm hoping) new enthusiasm within the ranks of our local-body politicians to leverage this asset to the benefit of the business and wider communities.
Although the councilors have changed, the SWDC bureaucracy remains largely unchanged and still resistant to change so I'm directing my efforts at the new councilors and I'm bringing the power of the internet to bear.
I've posted Youtube Video in which I'm encouraging RC model fliers from all over the world to get behind an initiative to turn the barely-used Tokoroa Airfield into an international model park which will attract visitors from all over NZ and all over the world.
Right now, there are very few "attractions" that bring people to Tokoroa. Sure, we have trees, reserves, river trails and some pine forests -- but such scenery is far from uncommon around NZ or around the globe for that matter. What this town needs is a unique attraction with world-wide appeal.
That's where the model-park comes in.
As regular readers already know, I have tried to get the SWDC interested in embracing airfield-based businesses that are focused on unmanned aviation -- but the old councilors were less than enthused, at least not once they heard *my* name mentioned.
I'm banking on the new councilors having a more objective perspective and hoping that if my video does the trick, I (with the help of others all over the world) will convince them to finally put the airfield to good use in a way that brings visitors to the district and boosts local businesses.
Of course this is a huge gamble. What if nobody on the Net decides to support the proposal?
Well I'm glad to say that things are already looking good -- with hundreds of pledges already arriving by email -- some for far more than the $10 I mooted in the video. How amazing is it that people from all over the world are prepared to dip into their own pockets to fund a development at a small rural NZ airfield?
I'm looking forwards to presenting the new councilors with an opportunity to show their commitment to the district and giving them a chance to honour their own pledges to the community by way of supporting this venture.
Ultimately, it will be a great test to see whether the internet has effectively destroyed the concept of "local" once and for all. Without the Net, there's simply no way a few thousand people scattered around the globe could influence the decision of a small town council in rural New Zealand.
Sometimes, you've got to love the way the Net is changing the world in which we live.
By the way, if you're reading this and would like to show your support for the initiative, just send an email pledge to the address mentioned in the description of that video.
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