Budget to discuss “exploring options” for municipal airport

Lisa Goudy
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City administration is requesting approval for exploring options relating to the municipal airport.

City hall is seen on Monday.

“We can explore how we can better utilize the airport,” said Mahabub Zaman, director of engineering services, at Monday’s capital budget committee meeting.

The city has owned and operated an airport located 13 kilometers northeast of the city on Highway 301 since 1978. The single asphalt runway is 910 meters long and 23 meters wide, enough to deal with small and medium-sized aircrafts but not large or jet-powered planes.

At an operating cost of $26,950 per year, the engineering department maintains the airport. The airport is valued at $2.8 million.

Projects such as resurfacing the runway in 2007, resurfacing the taxiway and apron in 2009 and crack-sealing the runway in 2011 were possible because of “matching funding” from the Community Airport Partnership through the provincial government, said Zaman’s report.

Since 2007, the government has funded $1 million to airports in Saskatchewan, $300,000 of which has gone to the City of Moose Jaw.

Zaman said there are a number of areas of concern regarding the municipal airport. One of those is the worsening of the runway lights electrical system and increased repair costs took effect in 2013 because of age deterioration. The system has been in place since 1978.

Another concern is that vehicles have been accessing new hangers along the taxiway by driving on the taxiway, which is a “hazard of a potential for a vehicle aircraft collision.”

Also, the Skydiving Club and Provincial Airways crop spraying planes in the summer use a single runway.

“Right now the airport runway is very short. It needs to be made longer to be made a viable airport. That’s in the millions of dollars to do those sorts of things,” said Brian Acker, director of financial services. “So that’s where the whole issue came up is there uses for the airport and we believe there is.

“There’s the potential there for residential development. There’s the potential there for some type of air cargo type thing, those types of things and that’s where we arrived at the recommendations where we do need to look at that in terms of potential.”

To explore the economic activities, the city is suggesting issuing a request for proposal for interest from the private sector to either purchase the airport or invest for a business purpose in 2014.

Budget committee will review and pass a motion regarding the municipal airport at Monday’s meeting.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Community Airport Partnership, Skydiving Club, Provincial Airways

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Moose Jaw

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