UPDATE Council votes to relocate Waterville airport to 14 Wing Greenwood

John Decoste
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Lengthy discussion culminates in 6-5 vote in favour of relocating airport. 

County council has narrowly approved a plan to relocate the municipal airport to 14 Wing Greenwood.

After a lengthy discussion during a special meeting July 29, council voted 6-5 in favour of the strategy, prepared and recommended by chief administrative officer Tom MacEwan.

The county will play no role in the operation and management of the relocated airport.

MacEwan termed this “a significant change in direction” for the county. He added that a relocation of the airport to 14 Wing “is the only option the municipality will be willing to support financially.”

Ongoing negotiations into the future of the relocated airport will be conducted between 14 Wing and the aviation community. The intention is that the relocated airport will be owned and managed by an arm’s-length organization, operating as a business.

In order for those ongoing discussions to take place, the Sept. 30 closure date for the Waterville airport, agreed on by council March 10, will be extended to March 31, 2015, providing the aviation users confirm their agreement, in writing, prior to Aug. 31.

MacEwan added that following these discussions, should an agreement prove unworkable, he would commit to bringing another proposal back to council.

 

Lengthy recommendations

The strategy included a total of 18 recommendations. As part of it, council agreed to provide funding toward the hiring of a consultant to work with the aviation users in creating a governing body for the relocated airport, as well as funding toward the creation of a business plan for the long-term operation and management of the facility.

Deputy Warden Brian Hirtle moved the acceptance of the recommendation.

“I believe this motion has not come lightly,” he said. “There has been input from a lot of people into bringing this forward.”

Hirtle described the strategy as “ the right move, and the right time for the move.”

As part of a discussion lasting more than three hours, several councillors spoke against the motion, including the four – Jim Winsor, Pauline Raven, Patricia Bishop and Emma Van Rooyen – who, earlier in the day, had issued a press release stating their opposition to the proposal.

Read more about the press release here.

Raven described the proposal as “an omnibus motion” and added, “there are many things about it that cause me great concern.”

“I feel we’re moving far too quickly here. I don’t feel I have the information to agree with this.”

Bishop said the county had two choices.

“We can push people away from each other, or bring them together. We haven’t framed this in a way to create a solution to the problem,” she said.

“I don’t see that this is going to lead us to a happy, healthy community. There are going to be more frustrations, and more losses.”

Bishop said the closure date for the airport should be extended “until the relocation committee can come back to us with a plan.”

Coun. Wayne Atwater also voted against the motion.

“If we have to vote for all the recommendations at once, I won’t be able to do that,” he said.

“I don’t think this will pass tonight if we have to pass it all.”

Later in the discussion, Atwater suggested it was important that all councillors work together.

“If this ends up a 6-5 vote, that isn’t good for the municipality,” he said.

“Let’s continue with the business case study and the relocation committee, which is willing to continue its work.”

Atwater suggested deferring the vote on the recommendation until the October council meeting, while letting both the business case study and the relocation committee continue, and moved an amendment to that effect.

Bishop moved another amendment, extending the Sept. 30 closure date to March 31, 2015 as included in the proposed strategy.

The amendment was defeated 6-5, and the vote on the original motion also ended in a 6-5 split. Van Rooyen chose to abstain, but her abstention was counted as a negative vote.

More than 60 people were in the gallery to hear the discussion. Every speaker against the recommendation drew applause and murmurs of approval from many in the audience.

Large attendance

More than 60 people were in the gallery to hear the discussion. Every speaker against the recommendation drew applause and murmurs of approval from many in the audience.

Cyril Mosher, one of those in attendance, was “disgusted with the reprehensible antics of the leadership of this council,” he said.

“The problem of relocating the Waterville airport should have been a relatively straightforward one, had you chosen to co-operate and consult with the aviation community rather than shutting them out,” he said.

“In the process, you tried your damndest to make the public feel that we are opposed to a Michelin expansion. You have treated us deplorably, treated us as second-class citizens, despite the fact that a substantial portion of your salaries are generated by the economic spinoffs generated by the airport and the many taxpayers that make its existence viable.”

 

Organizations: Kings County Municipal Airport

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Airport people are crazy!
    July 31, 2014 - 09:42

    14 Wing agreed to the move, you guys r stupid!

    • dave
      July 31, 2014 - 14:21

      No actually 14 Wing did NOT agree to move at all!! You're the one who's stupid!!

  • Craig
    July 30, 2014 - 23:27

    I'm confused, 14 Wing greenwood is Federal Land, and kings county can say what they like but DND has no obligation to listen. The airfield is closed to all planes except military due to rule changes that came into effect after 9/11, that is why the flight school had to leave in the first place, the same thing happened at 8 wing Trenton. I wonder has anyone even approached DND yet with a proposal? There is no planned expansion at Michelin, this will go down in history as another NS corporate give away poorly thought out and poorly executed, right up there with bluenose3, paving plants,steel mills,clear cuts, paper mills... the list is far too long

  • Michelin employee
    July 30, 2014 - 19:14

    My impression of this whole fiasco is warden Brothers is strong arming this decision with no input from the public and relying on the fact that most people in kings county are to busy working to pay their taxes to care. My question is who does care and why? Obviously people directly involved with the airport care and people who stand to benefit on its removal care. So this makes me wonder what the Wardens agenda is since I am a Michelin employee and there is absolutely no talk of using the airport for an expansion project! A wing and a prayer that maybe some day something will happen makes no sense to move a long standing community based airport that is a draw to the area for many who are into such things. It all stinks of shady dealing in local politics that rely on peoples ignorance to push around the little guys- in this case the people who use the airport. Michelin is promising no jobs and have actually cut jobs in Nova Scotia so what is the real objective here???? Move the airport and we will find out but then it will be too late.

    • reality
      July 31, 2014 - 10:20

      You are spot on!!!! Just follow the $$$! There are a few people who will stand to gain from this cluster-**** It'll become another episode of the Twilight Zone!

  • Michelin employee
    July 30, 2014 - 19:10

    My impression of this whole fiasco is warden Brothers is strong arming this decision with no input from the public and relying on the fact that most people in kings county are to busy working to pay their taxes to care. My question is who does care and why? Obviously people directly involved with the airport care and people who stand to benefit on its removal care. So this makes me wonder what the Wardens agenda is since I am a Michelin employee and there is absolutely no talk of using the airport for an expansion project! A wing and a prayer that maybe some day something will happen makes no sense to move a long standing community based airport that is a draw to the area for many who are into such things. It all stinks of shady dealing in local politics that rely on peoples ignorance to push around the little guys- in this case the people who use the airport. Michelin is promising no jobs and have actually cut jobs in Nova Scotia so what is the real objective here???? Move the airport and we will find out but then it will be too late.

  • Michelin employee
    July 30, 2014 - 18:47

    My impression of this whole fiasco is warden Brothers is strong arming this decision with no input from the public and relying on the fact that most people in kings county are to busy working to pay their taxes to care. My question is who does care and why? Obviously people directly involved with the airport care and people who stand to benefit on its removal care. So this makes me wonder what the Wardens agenda is since I am a Michelin employee and there is absolutely no talk of using the airport for an expansion project! A wing and a prayer that maybe some day something will happen makes no sense to move a long standing community based airport that is a draw to the area for many who are into such things. It all stinks of shady dealing in local politics that rely on peoples ignorance to push around the little guys- in this case the people who use the airport. Michelin is promising no jobs and have actually cut jobs in Nova Scotia so what is the real objective here???? Move the airport and we will find out but then it will be too late.

  • concerned citizen
    July 30, 2014 - 17:09

    'UPDATE Council votes to relocate Waterville airport to 14 Wing Greenwood' ============== Excuse me ! Excuse me ? Shouldn't somebody there have the courtesy to at least ask and clear such a move-in with DND Greenwwod to see if it's OK with them before ever making such a far fetched presumption ??

  • Citizen
    July 30, 2014 - 13:51

    I agree that the whole thing has been handled absolutely terribly from the start. But that has been by both sides. First you have council who, if you are to believe the aviators completely, have rail roaded this process from the start without consiltation. Their rational has been to create more well paying jobs for this county. I think everybody would agree that that would be a good thing. Then on the other hand you have aviators who are very firm in their beliefs that a relocated airport to CFB Greenwood is an absolutely bad idea. I think there is a place for a small airport in this county. I really do. But I am not convinced that there is a business case for, or even cloose to the money to pay for, a brand new, from the ground up airport. The skydivers are leaving. And I now hear that the flight school will be closing. At the meeting last night I was told that Councilor Raven said that there is supposedly someone who might be interested in somehow buying out or starting up a new flight school. Why can't that person go to CFB Greenwood? That's where it was before. I know they were kicked out once but negotiate as part of a larger group with them for a long term lease and move on. The arguement I hear is that they might not be able to get a loan to fund this business. If it's because of the leased land then how would they pull it off at the present location? Which would also be in a lease agreement. Then we have the business case study arguement. I heard that Councilor McQuarie brought that up. What would council do if that came back saying that with no businesses left, and only private owners left to use the facilities, that the county should get out of the airport business? Do they then turn around and use millions of dollars of tax payers money to pay for a facility that, let's face it, is used by a extrordinairily small number of those citizens and also by people who, because they may live outside this county, haven't paid in. I'm sorry. There may be things about going to CFB Greenwood that may not make it the best solution. But I still haven't heard, other than "we don't like it", a good enough reason for it not to go to there. And I say again that I am not against there being an airport. Even if it is subsidized to a small extent as it has been all along. But I am against the vast majority of this county flipping the bill for a "stand alone", "from the ground up" airport being built for a small group.

    • Observer Carol
      July 30, 2014 - 18:12

      I would hope that the aviators could find a way to come together and make this work. They have been given an opportunity to shine and show the public how credible and socially responsible they really are. I see that they have been treated unfairly, but two wrongs don't make a right. I wish them many success!

  • Bill N
    July 30, 2014 - 11:50

    I was there last night and thought that things went very well. 4 Councillors, (and now Councillor Atwater has joined them) are trouble makers and that was apparent last night.

    • Agreed
      July 30, 2014 - 16:55

      Bill you are so right. I've made comments about these trouble makers before only to receive negative comments from their supporters. I notice no one has been commenting negatively on your posts...perhaps people are starting to see these troublemakers for what they are?

    • airport
      July 30, 2014 - 21:25

      yes...i agree those four councillors are trouble makers...atwater not so much...when is the next election to rid us of bishop,raven,van rooyan and winsor

    • YouHateToPostCommentsThatDisagreeWithYourPersonalViewsNovaNewsNow
      July 31, 2014 - 07:07

      Bill N your so right. Surprised this site let your comment go through. They hate any comment that doesnt agree with the moderators personal views.

  • Ken Pineo
    July 30, 2014 - 11:11

    This whole issue has, in my personal opinion, been handled extremely poorly. I would go so far as to say that closing the present municipal airport on speculation that Michelin may expand is the worst decision I have ever seen a public body make. Is there an agenda here? Who represents the Greenwood area on Council? My guess is those who voted in favour of the airport closure and move should be looking over their shoulder when the next election rolls around. Most of the electors that I have spoken with are very unhappy with this whole mess.

  • Barbara Bishop
    July 30, 2014 - 07:20

    What a poor article. Why not capture some facts here- why not speak about the rational arguments and community support for the airport so much in evidence. "Not everyone was happy:?? People are so angry at how this important municipal file has been mishandled by Council they are barely able to speak, as noted by the community member who spoke of her love for the airport and her anger. The credibility of those who supported CAO's recommendations is now in complete shreds. Where is the background on the Relocation Committee that was dissolved because it was actually doing some competent work? And the fact that Greenwood authorities are not supporting any relocation. And that Michelin has no plans for expansion. This is very poor reporting.