It is not at all certain than the Michelin tire plant at Waterville will ever get funds for a large expansion of its facilities. An amount of $500 million is quoted but there is nothing firm about that number since plans do not exist.
- Michelin Waterville just expanded its truck tire section for $64 million with another $9 million from the N.S. provincial government in 2013. No new space was required.
- Michelin Waterville must get permission and funding from the head office in France for a major expansion.
- Michelin Waterville must compete for funds to expand against all the other Michelin plants in North America
- Michelin Waterville is an older plant (built in 1982), is 32 years old and getting near the end of its servicable life.
- Michelin North America has invested heavily in its plants in South Carolina and made them more modern and expandable. They are more likely to be successful in an expansion competition.
The airport has been chosen to be moved (closed actually) because Michelin claims that it can only expand to the North. No one has seen any plans for the possible expansion to verify that this is true. In the North American competition for funds, Michelin requires that it has the ownership of the expansion lands before it applies for the expansion and the Government of Nova Scotia has urged Kings county to sell it to them now.
Even so, why should it cost the tax payers the inconvenience and expense of moving its airport when Michelin has abundant space around its Waterville plant for expansion in other directions. It may cost more but ….it is not easy to move an airport.
- In Kings County much of the land is agricultural where zoning and citizen NIMBY response will make it difficult to
- Building a new airport will be very expensive – on the order of 10 million dollars or more. The municipality does not have that kind of money and the province has declared that it will not provide any funds for the move.
- An alternative of moving the airport to CFB Greenwood would cost less but the security problems and loss of control of the future makes it a uncertain step. The airport operation would always be restricted by military necessities.
The reasonable solution is to leave the Waterville Airport where it is and has been for nearly 70 years. We must not destroy a municipal facility on the low chance that a large employment benefit may float our way under forces we can not control or easily predict.