Council approves airport business plan

There was little discussion at the town council before approving a business plan for the Ponoka Industrial Airport

Town councillors have approved a new airport plan that will see future growth of the Ponoka Industrial Airport. This is a feasibility plan for the airport.

Town councillors have approved a new airport plan that will see future growth of the Ponoka Industrial Airport. This is a feasibility plan for the airport.

There was little discussion at the town council before approving a business plan for the Ponoka Industrial Airport at its regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 27.

The plan, compiled by MMM Group, outlines the future of the airport and includes recommendations that need to be implemented over the next 20 years and further into future. The 80-page report not only compares Ponoka’s with nearby airports, but also provides stages in the development of the airport.

• Phase 1- years one to five: the sale and lease of one lot per year and seeing operational expense growth to less than five per cent per year.

• Phase 2- years six to 10: the sale of two lots per year and controlling operational expenses to less than five per cent per year.

• Phase 3- years 11 to 20: the sale of two lots per year and continued control of operations expenses to less than five per cent annually.

The report also forecasts some enhancements that will see some large initial capital costs to the Town of Ponoka, but planners suggest revenue can be generated from the development of new lots for sale.

Phase 1 would see improvements in water and sewer at an estimated cost of $1.4 million, alongside an assumed cost of $60,000 per year to hire an airport manager.

Phase 2 would see revenue go up to $682,000 per year, up from $393,000 for Phase 1, if lots were sold and leased to pilots. If followed, the plan sees the third phase where the town will start to see revenue that will benefit the airport. MMM Group estimates revenue at $1.8 million for Phase 3 if lots are sold as per schedule.

Council also approved airport governance recommendations set by MMM Group and the establishment of a Ponoka Industrial Airport Development Board in 2015 with responsibilities to meet objectives in the airport business plan.