Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Greenwood airport study sought: Province, Kings County request process to look at possibility of Greenwood site

The Nova Scotia government and Kings County have requested a feasibility study into relocating the Waterville Municipal Airport, shown in this 2012 photo.
 (GORDON DELANEY / Valley Bureau) 

CAMBRIDGE — The province and the Municipality of Kings County have formally requested a feasibility study into establishing a civilian airport at 14 Wing Greenwood to house the Waterville Municipal Airport. 

 “A recent … airport relocation study identified a civilian air park facility at 14 Wing Greenwood as an option,” says a letter to Col. James Irvine, the base commander.

The July 8 letter was signed by Kings County Warden Diana Brothers and Chris Daly, economic and rural development associate deputy minister.

More information is needed to fully consider the option, the letter says. It requests a meeting with the commander to discuss the study’s “parameters, logistics, costs and the process that would be involved to have it completed.”

The public will get an opportunity to ask questions about the report and its recommendation to locate at Greenwood. A public meeting has been planned for Aug. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. The county will also be accepting written and email submissions.

Municipal officials met Monday night with the study’s authors, the province and members of the co-op that manages the airport.

“And we met with the study group recently on a strategy to move forward,” Brothers said in an interview.

Development of a civilian air park facility at 14 Wing Greenwood appears to be the preferred option for relocating the Water-ville airport to make way for a possible Michelin expansion.

Although there is no promise to expand the Waterville tire plant, the feeling among municipal and provincial government officials is that if the land is made available, the company will invest there.

The Waterville airport is located at the northeastern side of the sprawling plant, boxing in Michelin at its current location.

The province commissioned Halifax consultants CBCL Ltd. to conduct a $100,000 study to determine options for another location. The 50-page study was released in June.

To eliminate uncertainty and encourage new Michelin investment, the sale of the land and the move to a new location “should occur immediately,” says the report.

“I don’t know what the outcome will be because the study hasn’t been done yet … but I don’t see why it couldn’t work here,” said Brothers.

The report estimates the cost of relocating to Greenwood at $6.7million. The Waterville airport is used by about 50 aviators, who are worried about who’s going to pick up the tab.

It houses 32 aircraft and employs 20 full- and part-time workers, with a flying school, skydiving school and aircraft maintenance facility.

Source:   http://thechronicleherald.ca