Airport lease rates increase 10% in 2012

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  • Oct. 5, 2011 6:00 a.m.

By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Since Ponoka County withdrew its support earlier this year of operating costs at the Ponoka Industrial Airport, the Town of Ponoka has had to rethink how it will pay for airport upkeep. There is an approximate annual shortfall of $5,500 and depending on snow removal costs it could be higher.

Coun. Rick Bonnett suggested all major stakeholders in the airport be brought together to discuss the financial shortfall and how to solve it, but for now the town will increase the lease rates for 2012 by 10 per cent. Some council members, including Mayor Larry Henkelman, felt it was important to inform the airport commission of council’s desire to find a solution to the upkeep of the airport, but for now the increase must go forward.

“There has to be a letter going to the airport commission that we need to sit down and have some discussions,” said Henkelman.

CAO Brad Watson suggested the letter recognize the town’s shortfall, but a major review of the operational cost and leases at the airport be undertaken. “We will invite vested parties to the table.”

Stan Baliant, director of property services, said the airport commission had recently discussed the idea of advertising in Edmonton in anticipation of the future closing of the Edmonton City Centre Airport.

The Ponoka airport has CANPASS, a way for aircraft to clear customs in Canada. It is the only airport in central Alberta with this service and it is open to Canada and United States residents.