There’s no flight plan yet for improvements to the Ponoka Industrial Airport.
Council was told recently that Ed McDonald, an engineer with JetPro, has been to Labrie Field to survey the airport and gather information for an upcoming report.
Stan Baliant, director of property services, said the report will evaluate “where we stand with our GPS approach since the removal of the trees, how much our approach minimums will come down and what options are available to enable the WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) and also what the obstacles are in regards to extending the runway and how much of a runway extension we would be able to obtain.”
In response to a question from Coun. Rick Bonnett, who made the motion to reallocate budgets from other departments to fund airport improvements, Baliant said no estimate of costs is available yet.
Mayor Larry Henkelman advised council MLA Ray Prins told him there will be no new grants for airports in the provincial budget and reminded council the town got a $750,000 grant last year to repave the runway.
Bonnett’s motion was tabled at the Feb. 22 meeting and will not be debated until there is more information on airport improvements and costs.
New Airport Commission member appointed
A Ponoka resident with experience with airports in Peace River, Grande Prairie and the Northwest Territories as been added to the airport commission.
In a 4-2 vote, council ratified the appointment of Duane Grose, who replaces Terry Hamre. An application was also received from Rick Wyrozub.
Baliant, a member of the airport commission, told council he interviewed Grose who has 27 years’ experience in flight services. “He seems like a very good gentleman to have on our commission.”
Wyruzub, a “semi-retired lawyer with no airport experience whatsoever,” was not interviewed.
Bonnett wondered whether Wyrozub was not considered “because he was part of the tree deal.” A dissenting opinion might be useful on the committee, he added.
Baliant said Grose has experience to help the town plan for future development of the airport.
Membership on the airport commission comprises six members at large, one town councillor, one county councillor, one economic development board member, Baliant and others.