By Kirk Starratt
It could be an exception to Kings County’s rule not to establish any more committees.
A recommendation from the municipality’s committee is calling for the official creation of a Waterville Airport Relocation Project, with a supporting project committee. This would be an exception to a previous council motion not to establish more committees.
District 11 Coun. Jim Winsor, who spent 11 years managing 52 airports in the Northwest Territories, brought the idea to the Sept. 17 committee of the whole session for his colleagues to consider.
“It’s vital that we start to look at what is involved in doing this and moving it forward,” Winsor said. “Doing an airport relocation is not a minor task.”
He said planning is important governments have a role to play in making the environment more inviting to investors and Winsor sees this as a situation where everyone can win.
“There has to be no loser here,” he said.
Winsor said he is excited over the opportunities presented by an airport move, including a chance to locate the airport where it can be unencumbered. With improved management and marketing, he said, the airport could grow significantly.
Waterville Airport Co-operative Limited spokesman Gordon Squires said the airport community is very pleased with the direction council has taken. However, he said it’s important to note the motion has yet to receive final approval.
“The airport community from the beginning has been very supportive of Michelin moving north if that’s the only way it can expand,” Squires said. “We just ask that our investment and infrastructure not be thrown under the bus in the process.”
Squires said airport users would be happier with a new location further east that could accommodate a 5,000-foot runway, which would better take into account the future economic viability and economic development potential of the airport. However, he said if the airport can be moved somewhere with a 3,500-foot runway, the length of the runway they currently have in Waterville, the co-op and local aviation community would support it.