Council Votes to Enter Formal Negotiations to Have Airport Owned & Operated by Independent Non-Profit

Council Votes to Enter Formal Negotiations to Have Airport Owned and Operated by Independent Non-Profit

February 11, 2020

During a Special Council meeting held this evening Council has voted to enter formal negotiations to shift the ownership and operation of the Peace River Regional Airport to a non-profit company.

Members of regional councils from the current airport funders (Northern Sunrise County, MD of Peace, County of Northern Lights, and the Town of Grimshaw) were in attendance and provided their feedback on the proposed plan.

The new owners will be subject to certain terms and stipulations:

  1. Structure of the company must be a non-profit;
  2. $1.4m will be provided by the Town in financial support over the first two years;
  3. One employee paid for by the Town for one year;
  4. Fire suppression services provides by the Town during transition;
  5. Water operator support;
  6. The Town will assume current environmental liabilities;
  7. New businesses at the airport will pay taxes;
  8. Current tax exemptions at the airport will remain in place;
  9. A majority of local people will be on the Board of Directors; and
  10. Support Current Air Ambulance and Forestry operations

The finalized details and non-profit company should be completed by the spring of this year with a target of the end of May.

Background

In August of 2019 the Town of Peace River, with the support of the airport funding partners issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) regarding the operation and ownership of the Peace River Regional Airport. A number of options were received that covered a wide range of options.

After a discussion amongst the funding councils, the Town of Peace River decided to proceed with a non-binding referendum to gauge support for the ideas of a non-profit company owning and operating the airport. The referendum held on Feb. 5, 2020, showed a preference amongst voters for the non-profit option.

Audio Recording of the Meeting