A former member of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society management committee says Shellharbour City Council's investigations into the HARS building at Illawarra Regional Airport are long overdue.
Ben Morgan, who was involved with HARS as a general member before becoming part of the organisation's management committee in 2010, has also defended Shellharbour councillor Peter Moran from criticism since he raised the issues.
The HARS building at the Illawarra Regional Airport is currently closed to the public to allow for the completion of internal works and installation of fire safety systems.
Shellharbour council is also investigating issues surrounding businesses sub-leasing the facility.
Mr Morgan said not long after he joined the committee, he and other newly elected committee members became aware there were serious issues in the way the building and construction of the building had been managed.
"By the time I joined the committee a number of buildings were in place: the first building and the museum complex and the super hangar had been constructed," Mr Morgan said.
"Unbeknownst to myself and others, we were occupying the buildings without occupation certificates or construction certificates and we had members working, sleeping and based out of the facility seven days a week.
"The HARS business model and facilities are very ambitious. However, forging ahead with buildings and leaving out the correct safety systems is not good enough.
"What upset me was HARS brings in a lot of money through donations and revenue and yet we weren't able to put money away for the correct systems ... yet we were watching money being spent on aircraft and ancillary products and services.
"HARS needs to comply with regulations just like everyone else. I commend the council for finally taking action. However, I feel it has come five years too late.
"We are talking about people's lives ... it was a big question mark that sat on us as part of the management committee."
Cr Moran said his main concern was protecting Shellharbour City Council and its ratepayers, whom he feared would be liable should something go wrong at the council-owned facility.
"We have seen numerous times over the last few years the HARS board looking after the interests of HARS, not taking into account wider community concerns," Cr Moran said.
"I'm looking forward to a time when council can come in and do a full examination of this facility."
HARS president Bob De La Hunty said while Mr Morgan may have been unaware of the full circumstances of the building and the relationship with Shellharbour council, others who stood alongside him for election were.
"HARS has never been anything but open with the community," Mr De La Hunty said.
"We are working to complete the complex, it had been delayed because of negotiations with the Defence Department and the changing fire needs that have come with the upgrade.
Mr De La Hunty said HARS was a voluntary organisation that was working to complete the requirements as fast as it could.