Town council is unanimous in its support of improvements for the Ponoka Industrial Airport.
Heard during the regular meeting of council Sept. 27, Dave McPhee, director of operations and property services, highlighted the need to invest $328,000 for airplane taxiway servicing that would meet the first of three phases for the airport.
The advance funding request would see the money come out of the town’s general benefit reserve, with funds being returned to the reserve account once lots have been sold.
McPhee explained that eight new leases were made in 2015 with four being outside of the taxiway servicing area. A temporary gravel taxiway was created for those four lots, hence the need for paving. On top of the four there are three potential buyers eager to purchase or develop hangars at the airport with paved taxiway servicing being required.
It will take some months once paving starts, however. Tim Schmidt, director of planning and development, said development applications take 60 days — plus a legal subdivision registry is needed, which all takes some time. He expects actual work to begin in 2017.
“Included in that will be a legal survey,” added McPhee.
Coun. Marc Yaworski spoke his support of the plan. “There’s going to be businesses coming into town because of it.”
The three-phase plan sets out a total estimated cost of $1.03 million with Phase 1’s $328,000 for the taxiway, which includes the survey, preliminary design, detailed design for construction plus the actual work.
Phase 2 sets out an estimated $538,000 for roadway construction broken down into $250,000 for the actual construction, $150,000 for fencing, $125,000 for gas and electricity relocates and $13,000 for tender and project management.
Phase 3 sets an estimated $160,000 for roadway construction with $100,000 for gravel standard road construction, $50,000 for new utilities and $10,000 for tender and project management.
The three phases are delineated in the town’s Airport Development Plan that was prepared in 2015, setting the stage for the airport for the next 20 years.
With the final closure of the Edmonton Municipal Airport in 2013 and the improvements at the Red Deer Airport, the plan is intended to spur development at the Ponoka airport and is expected to create a revenue stream for the town.
Prior to the development plan a business plan and governance model was set out with the help of M and M Consulting.