Airport Taskforce Meeting
Saturday, 7 June 2014
Chair: Gary Dunfield,
MOK = Municipality of Kings
WACL = Waterville Airport Cooperative Ltd
Meeting opened by the Chair at 10:00 am
A brief agenda was outlined and accepted as follows:
– Report on the Waterville Open House on 31 May
– Options for the future of CCW3
– Report of Hanger Owner’s Legal Action
– Greenwood Options
– Saxon Street Airpark
OPEN HOUSE Report
There was a good turnout of pilots from the Maritime region and very interesting discussions with the attending politicians and COPA officials (Kevin Psutka, COPA president, talked with MLA, Leo Glavine, but subject unknown) The politicians seemed to be pushing a move of aircraft to Greenwood in their statements.
Although there was not a large public turnout for the open house there waa a good article in the Chronicle Herald newspaper about the event. Of those public who visited, many had not realized the airport was open anytime to visitation..
Questions on how to educate the public on the existence and value of the local airport:
Supply newspapers with facts and information especially the economics side of the airport. Numbers count in that the more letters they get the more they will consider writing articles on the airport.
Also engage the politicians. Keep up the emails and letters
A suggestion was that the Chambers of Commerce be approached w.r.t. the value of the airport and getting support for keeping it. Gary had contacted earlier with no response and will re-engage.
REN (Regional Enterprise Network) is the new organization that the provincial government backs to encourage regional businesses.
Hanger Owners Report:
Bill Young reported that the 30 days are up for applying for action. The Council has delayed first saying they want mediation but now do not. The only option left is to go ahead with litigation and the lawyer is putting together the paperwork. The suit will ask that the WACL be recognized as the operators of the airport and that their lease is good until July 2015. There is still hope for some direct agreement with the MOK.
Information and Comments:
Discussion with Grant Ferguson (Waterville plant Michelin manager) and statements by MOK councillors indicate that the closing date for the airport is flexible. There is still an apparent desire for the airport land for a MOK business park.
Land may be available for a business park in New Minas, next to and south of the 101 highway between the Big Stop and the Greenwich exits. New Minas town had applied for this land as expansion but MOK turned them down.
This may be incentive for the MOK not to look as strongly to the airport land for their business park.
Regarding the opposing to developing of an Airpark on property on Saxon Street. After the 3 June Council meeting, several Taskforce members met with the North East Citizens Group about the Saxon Street Airpark proposal. Both groups could get together on keeping CCW3 open and not closing. There is a suggestion that the leaders meet to discuss mutual positions.
Several members feel that the Taskforce is going in too many directions at once. This leaves members and the public not knowing what we stand for. Perhaps we need a mission statement. Gary pointed out that we have had multiple goals from the beginning depending on how thing go, we need to have several options.
We need to get more public support: We need to educate the public about CCW3 being a public facility and an essential service to not only Kings county but other Municipalities in the region.
We need to concentrate on the ‘Save our Airport’ aspect of our goals.
The question is… what is the best way to get the word out. A suggestion was a newspaper ad. The circulation of the Advertiser/Register is small and not a lot of people read them. The Chronicle Herald is too broad a coverage and expensive. Flyers may be a better way to distribute the message but it costs
Situation at Greenwood for general aviation does not seem good with widening circle of security at the Base and the building of a new hanger on the north side which was a likely location for general aviation.
Several members suggested that we have a pamphlet to explain our position and the value of CCW3. Many agreed to help distribute the literature. Larry, Gary, and Nancy will work to gather information. (Deadline two weeks) Gary can lay it out. Theme: Kings County needs CCW3. Emphasis: Airport Services, Business and Economics.
It should be noted that there are only 84 days to prevent closure of CCW3. What are we going to do. When the airport closes the Greenwood Flight School ends and that represents 70% of the flights at the airport. Not much is left. Repair facilities will most likely disappear also. There is no viable alternative at the moment and as of October 1 many pilots will be at a loss as what to do.
SAXON STREET AIRPARK:
It should be noted that the Saxon Street airstrip already exists and will continue to exist. It has been made available to other pilots who might need it. There are only 4.5 acres used by the strip. The owners are in the agriculture business and want farm land as much or more than anyone else. There are no problems when the strip is this small but if developed more, as an airpark (not an airport), it will create more problems. The best solution is to keep CCW3 open but it is difficult to argue against the economics of an expanded Michelin Plant. (If it occurs)
WACL will discuss the Airpark proposal at their next meeting
To arrange a meeting between leaders of the Taskforce and the North East Kings Citizen Group.
– Argue against any Michelin expansion. It is a 32 year old plant and if it isn’t upgraded soon, then it will reach its end and may not continue.
– Extend the opening of CCW3 to 2015 wait to see if there is any more indication of Michelin expansion. Airport closure in October will cause job losses and destroy chances of airport growth.
– A business case study for a relocated airport can’t win since all the businesses will be gone with closure
Members are urged to continue to contact their councillors and urge for as long a delay in closing as possible – do not specify a date. We require a new airport location before CCW3 is closed.
The Taskforce email list does not have any of the council or politicians on it and if the MOK is reading our email, someone has to be forwarding it to them. If there is something confidential sent it directly to the person, not the taskforce.
Adjourned: 12:15 pm
The discussions will continue on the AVFA Taskforce email list.
Submitted: Larry Bogan
11 June 2014