28 June -2014 – Meeting

AVFA Task Force Meeting, June 28-2014
Waterville Airport

Call to Order – by Christoph Both, 9:07 am
Approved Minutes of last Task Force meeting, June 7-2014

REPORTS:

  • Hanger Owners Group (HOG) Press release concerning the legal action againt the Municipality of Kings (MOK) breaking the lease with the Waterville Airport Cooperative Ltd and forcing the HOG to vacate the airport. – Chistoph read the recently released statement
    The general content was: The basic argument was that the lease between WACL and MOK is a legal document active until 2015 or later. MOK disagreed and would not negotiate. MOK tried to stop HOG from being at the stakeholder meeting with the Premier and Michelin. A request was make to MOK continue the lease and was rejected by MOK warden. The court case is the only option available to fulfill the agreement on the lease and keep the airport operating.
  • The lawyers for HOG have filed legal papers in Nova Scotia courts. Arguments are still to be presented.
  • Ann, Tom and Peter Goddard have met again with Leo Glavine but he is busy and will not be useful in mediate communications with the MOK and provincial government. He did emphasize that there will be no money from the province for a new airport. Provincial contact is be better with Keith Irving, MLA.
  • The MOK Council (warden Brothers) has said that there will be a special announcement on July 8 but no one knows what it is about.
  • Comments from CFB Greenwood implies that there will be no convenient space to take aircraft from Waterville airport if it closes.

North East Kings Citizen’s Group (NEKCG)

  • There had been expected a representative present at this meeting to discuss common goals but there was none. There was suppose to have been contact and discussion since the last meeting but that fell through.
  • Discussion occurred on whether a new airport location would be made very difficult because much of the Valley floor is agricultural land and it is unlikely to be rezoned for and airport. It was pointed out that there is land zoned forestry that would be appropriate for an airport but clearing of land will make it more expensive to develop.

ACTIONS:

  • It is important that members of the Taskforce show appreciation to the MOK councilors that have worked to support the Taskforce’s position. Councilors Bishop, Winsor and Ravens were mentioned. Send a letter, email or post card of thanks. A physical piece of paper will have more meaning. Communiciations can be dropped off at the MOK municipal building.
    A pdf file with an appropriate post card design will be put on the Taskforce website to be copied and printed.
  • The Provincial Petition is complete although does not have as many signatures as we would like and will be given the Keith Irving to be presented to the Provincial government. The local petition is not finished and will be held for awhile.
  • Bumper Stickers are available at the aiport saying “Save YOUR Waterville Airport” if you would like to put one on your vehicle. These were made and paid for thanks to Ken Cheslock.
  • A poster to urge the publice to contact the MOK council in favour of keeping the Waterville airport open was presented by Cyril Mosher. This will be large (about 30” x 40”) and on a stand to be easily readable by passing drivers.
  • A brief discussion about doing a public demonstration, concluded that no one thought it was what we should be doing.

STRATEGY – Finding a Unified Voice:

  • Finding a unified strategy
    • People directly affected need to speak up and not just the few who have been doing most of the work. More members of the Taskforce have to join in.
    • It is unfortunate that the most effect business at the airport, The Greenwood Flight School, has not used its voice to protest the closing of the airport.
    • Neighboring airports, Digby, Stanley, and Debert, have all been contacted and will give support to Waterville as they need it. But they would like to know how they can help.
    • East Coast Ultralight (Bernie Rector) will be sponsoring a Challenger Gathering with aircraft from Ontario to the Maritimes. AVFA has agreed to put on a barbeque at CCW3 for them in August. (Members of AVFA should put this on their calendar)
  • Christoph proposed a Round Table Meeting of Stakeholders: AVFA, HOG, WACL to address the Relocation Committee and respond to MOK’s position on the airport. This will be set up in the few weeks.

COMMITMENT: (as outlined on the agenda by Christoph Both)

  • CCW3 Waterville Airport:
  • KEEP WHAT YOU HAVE (A better Land Use Agreement)
  • EXTEND THE TIME YOU HAVE IT
  • DEVELOP WHAT YOU HAVE (New Airport Governance and Management Model)
  • DEVELOP SOMETHING NEW IF YOU CAN NOT HAVE IT: Proposals Plan “B”

Comment on this was:
The best option for an airport in the region is to keep what we have, but to improve on its operation. Art Patton pointed out that if operation could get out from under the MOK rules and controls it would possible to improve the airport and make it grow. Other income from rents etc could be used to operate without MOK financial input.

The MOK Rules of Performance will be published in 90 days. Expectations are that they will not be favorable. We have to take full control of the operations if there is an extension of the closure date.

An extension of the closing date is not a solution. We need to be working for a solution also for a possible (probable?) closure of CCW3 and make plans (Plan B). We might have to consider going to West Hants where a new airport would be welcomed enthusiastically.

OTHER:

  • Christoph Both resigned as active chairman of the Taskforce during the period, July 1-Sept 1, to be removed from the pressure of the position. It was agreed by the members that Gary Dunfield would take over as chairman during that period.
  • The Next AVFA Taskforce meeting will be set as needed within the next two or three weeks.

MOTION to adjourn –  ADJOURNED 11:00 am

Respectfully submitted,
Larry Bogan

General Aviation Interest Group in the Annapolis Valley