A group of hangar owners at the Ponoka Industrial Airport feel they aren’t getting a fair deal after being offered to purchase their properties at $74 per square foot. Another business group, which offered to pay for the runway extension, received an offer of $45 per square foot. File photo

Ponoka airport leaseholders seek balanced deal with council

Some leaseholders feel they are not getting equitable rates compared to others

A group of pilots do not feel they are getting fair options for the purchase of their hangar properties.

Dave Scott, representing this group, spoke to town council May 22 during the regular meeting. He said the town’s recent decision to offer properties at $74 per square foot was unfair.

Scott took issue with a group of business owners that purchased their lots for $45 per square foot. This was approved as the group also agreed to extend the airport taxiway. He suggested that it was a self-serving decision by a group of businesses with twin engines.

“They’re business. They don’t come to the meetings generally,” said Scott.

“It’s not sitting well with the lease holders,” he added, stating that the other leaseholders cannot afford to make the $74 per square foot purchase.

People are only going to pay what they feel the value is and this group doesn’t feel there is value to the lots at the current rate, he added.

Coun. Clayton Nelson asked if this group would be willing to help pay for the runway extension.

Scott pointed out that the runway hasn’t been built yet to which Coun. Teri Underhill said that is the town’s issue. Scott voiced some frustration that the leaseholder group was not even asked to be part of this deal.

“At $74 none of us is interested in purchasing,” said Scott.

Mayor Rick Bonnett asked Scott what the group feels would be a fair amount. “What do you guys want to do to operate this thing (the airport) to make it fair and equitable?”

Scott says that $45 per square feet is an amount that the group would look at. Bonnett then asked the group to come back with a reasonable offer.

Why hasn’t the extension started?

According to the town, regulatory issues caused the delay in the extension project.

“There were two things, explained Chris McKenna, director of operations and property services. “First was we had to complete the water study for the hangar owners; second was the land survey that was finished had to be sent to Land Titles and it took a lot longer than we anticipated to get that back; so by the time it was received by us, we ran out of time to get the runway extension done.”

It is believed construction will begin soon on the extension project.

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