Ratepayers to foot bill for Uiver restoration: Emmery.

Albury council candidate for the citizen’s and ratepayer’s group John Emmery has announced plans to save the dilapidated DC-2 Uiver at Albury’s airport, by turning it into a cafe-at the ratepayer’s expense.

Council figures have estimated the restoration at $300 000.

Howard Hinde, chairman of the Uiver Memorial Community Trust, said his committee had estimates made several years ago.

“…we had studies done that went up to $400,000 five years ago — the costs have escalated and the plane has deteriorated since then.”

Mr Hinde said the cost of housing the plane had not been taken into account, and council estimates had previously run to more than $1 million.

Mr Emmery favoured a plan modelled on examples in the US, where the interior of the aircraft is turned into a cafe with the opportunity of using the wing as a balcony for tables and chairs, claiming the plane could be restored for $125,000.

He said a $1 rate increase per quarter could help pay for most of the work over a 12-month period.

I think clearly writing a blank cheque for a white elephant which has already cost the people of Albury $1 million for yet another pig-in-a-poke enterprise is the ONLY responsible course of action, clearly.

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About alburywodongaonline

Hi I'm Jack Stone (a pseudonym), I'm a long-time Albury resident and I think it's a great place to live and work. I have a strong interest in local events and media and I started this site because I think a different perspective is often needed when reporting local news. I take a keen interest in local politics, as well as what's going on at the state and federal level, I'm also a supporter of social justice issues, the envirionment and the need for people to have a say in the events that effect their lives. I'm a fan of the Border Bandits and I'd love to see both teams take the flag this year, and next year, and maybe the one after that too.
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19 Responses to Ratepayers to foot bill for Uiver restoration: Emmery.

  1. raydixon says:

    It strikes me as odd that anyone in Albury would pin their tourism attraction hopes on the conversion of a replica of a plane that just happened to make an emergency landing in the town umpteen years ago, into a cafe.

    If Albury is serious about developing tourism then all it need do (if it wants to learn how) is to look a bit downstream to Yarrawong and Echuca, two succesful tourist towns that focus on the one major attraction they have – the Murray River.

    It goes through Albury too I believe but, I as a visitor would never know that, except for where I have to cross that unremarkable bridge.

    By & large it seems to me that Albury turns its back on its biggest asset, just like Melbourne used to do with Port Philip Bay, until they woke up to the fact that people love the ocean and rivers.

  2. You’ll be pleased to know, Albury council does have plans to develop the recreational potential of the river, a 25 year project called “the Murray River experience“.

    I don’t see what the fuss is all about, a crappy old replica plane gets carted off for scrap, big deal!!

    The story of the Uiver is well documented for posterity (including a commemorative mural).

    I just don’t see it as an asset, it’s a white elephant that a couple of old plane enthusiasts want Joe public to foot the bill for.

    I fail to see how their inability to embrace pragmatism and move on from the past is anyone’s problem but their own.

  3. raydixon says:

    They need to get a move-on with that river project, Jack. A town needs to build on its natural strengths, not on some gimmick like a plane.

  4. Well hopefully the river isn’t going anywhere.
    Having said that, yes, the river is obviously our greatest asset, and it’s about time we started treating it accordingly.

    My personal feeling is that 25 years isn’t an excessively long period of time for improvement, my only critisism of the plan as it currently stands is that it places a much higher emphasis on making the river available as a recreational facility than it does on actually rehabilitating some of the more degraded stretches, areas which are overgrown with weeds (including willows and poplars).

    I think it’s absolutely essential we establish reserve areas for wildlife to inhabit, I would argue strongly that this needs to extend to aquatic environments.

    I’m sure the red-necks won’t like the idea of having certain stretches of the river off-limits for fishing, but if we want to see threatened native species survive the next few years, there is no other way.

  5. Greg Naylor says:

    Geez … you can twist an argument around Jack. I thought that post was about spending public money (rates) on converting a buggered DC-2 (Uiver imitation) into a commercial enterprise (cafe) for vested interests (citizen’s and ratepayer’s group) in the name of the preservation of history.

    Ray spun it towards tourism and now you’ve spun it again to include threatened native fish species. Bloody brilliant work guys! 😉

    The most practical idea is to tow it into the padock and use it as an emergency services training centre for simulated plane crashes.

  6. raydixon says:

    More moves than a game of chess Greg? I thought the topic was more about tourism or, more correctly, about one council candidate’s misguided idea of converting a replica of an old aeroplane into some kind of tourist attraction at great expense to the ratepayers.

    In fact I just read it again and, yep, that’s what it’s about. So I don’t think it’s spinning it into tourism by suggesting Albury, if it wants to develop tourism, should forget about a gimmicky old replica and focus on the river, its major natural asset.

    Of course they’ll have to contend with many spurilous arguments to do that but I don’t see how developing, say, a waterfront precinct would harm the river. Just somewhere for people to sit in trendy comfort and enjoy that wonderful (slow/fast/medium) Albury food Jack talks about, while overlooking the river – see ‘Echuca’ to learn how it’s done.

    But it’s not my problem. We’ve got enough to contend with over here.

  7. True enough, Echuca has done a very good job of putting it’s best foot forward as far as providing amenities for visitors to the place.

    Greg for me (and this is just my personal view) the common thread is local government spending, what is a worthwhile and valid use of public money in the local area and what is basically a pig-in-a-poke money pit.

    Handing the river on to the next generation in the best possible condition falls squarely into the former category for me, while continuing to flush money on a man-child council candidate’s “big-boy’s toy” falls clearly in the latter category.

    That’s the link, I wasn’t trying to “twist” the argument, just present the case as I see it.

  8. Greg Naylor says:

    I accept that, but where does this man Emmery get off seeking public funds for a private business – whether council owned or not. Not the type of candidate I would be voting for.

  9. raydixon says:

    Vote 1 Jack Stone. He’s the man.

  10. JR says:

    Hey, c’mon guys, don’t go spoiling it for the latte sipping yuppie set. I mean, have you seen how high of the tarmac those wings are, and they wanna put tables and chairs on them?

    I say, bring it on.

  11. Greg Naylor says:

    JR – have you seen the slope of thing? The lattes will slide off the table

  12. oh yeah, nice and safe huh?

  13. JR says:

    Actually, I think the whole idea will just melt into the tarmac when they read the insurance premium quote.

  14. Pingback: Profile: John Emmery | Kieran Bennett

  15. Jen says:

    Hi I am a Dutch born Australian nearing retirement and so intend to visit Albury when next in the area to specifically see the Uiver memorial. I hope to see the DC 2 so that I can appreciate how it must have been in 1934 when flying was so different to what it is today.

    I have an uncle and aunt from Holland who visited your memorial a few years ago.

    When visiting a town I look for something different to see, not the same river in every town. Develop the river for your local residents to enjoy. To bring in tourists you want to present something unique. No other city in the world saved 8 or 9 lives in the way Albury did.

    So thank you to all those citizens involved who made a lot of Dutch families very happy that their loved ones were saved and then were able to go on and live a full life.

    My uncle was a 17 year old boy in 1934. Like the rest of Holland, each day he followed the latest news of the air race. The story inspired him to become a pilot, and in March 1942 he flew the last Glenn Martin out of Java to Broome, rescuing people who later made important contributions to pushing the Japanese back out of the south Pacific. He often spoke of the heroics of the people of Albury and the pilots of the day.

    So my advise is to capatalise on this story. I am not sure about turning the plane into a cafe; but please restore it so we today can appreciate the wonderful heroics of those who lived in Albury then.

  16. Well Jen, I’d suggest you make your visit quickly while it’s still here, it may not be for long, the Albury Uiver is not the original one, it’s a replica and it has become a bit of a rust bucket I’m afraid.
    Albury council are looking to relocate it and have about half a dozen tenders so far.

    The words our mayor used were “looking for a good home for it” so you can read into that what you want.

    I’d suggest a less depressing spectacle would be the mural depicting the story of the Uiver, that’s on permanent display and isn’t going anywhere.

    The history of the Uiver is well recorded, we certainly don’t need (or want it seems) to continue to pour money away on a white elephant replica of a plane.
    There just isn’t public support for it, which is necessary to spend public money I think you’ll agree.

    Your disparaging comments about the river are ill informed I would suggest, you can’t step in the same river twice much less see the same river in more than one town.

  17. raydixon says:

    I think ‘Jen’ might be a Save Bright & Cittaslow supporter too. That’s the sort of “I’m a visitor and I think Coles will ruin Bright etc” anonymous comment I get all the time.

    Propaganda is not just limited to the Ovens Valley, obviously. “Keep the river for the locals”? Umm, so Melbourne-based tourists should just be happy they’ve got the Yarra?

  18. Ray, I wondered if “Jen” might be a sock puppet, but I didn’t like to accuse someone on just a hunch.

    If you’ve got proof, I’d be more than happy to run an exposay.

  19. raydixon says:

    The thing about so-called people from Melbourne etc somehow finding the topic & website and bothering to comment is, why do they always use non-de-plumes?

    The only way their argument (that I’m a tourist and I think this …) can be taken seriously is by using their real name. As they’re only ‘dropping in’ on the discussion, what’s the point of anonymity?

    No ‘proof’ Jack but you can back it in that ‘Jen’ is a local and, for some reason, a pro-Uiver supporter.

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