Notice of Vote on A Question
Updated February 5, 2020
Posted January 15, 2020
Pursuant to sections 7, 12, 35, 46, 53 of the Local Authorities Elections Act, the Town of Peace River will hold a vote on a question on the 5th of February with Advance voting on the 1st of February.
Additionally, there will be an exit poll for those who cast a vote, the exit poll will be an opportunity to provide written feedback on the issue.
On this Page:
Why a Non-binding Referendum?
In August 2019 the Town of Peace River issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to explore alternative ways of funding and operating the Peace River Regional Airport. This has allowed the Town an opportunity to consider having the airport operated by an agency with the depth of specialized resources and experience in the unique economics of airports and the aviation industry. The process is part of the Town’s commitment to maintaining and sustaining the facility as a regional airport. A commitment to keeping the airport open and operational for important services such as Air Ambulance and Forestry.
What happens if the Town of Peace River signs over ownership and operations of the Peace River Regional Airport to a non-profit company?
- The Airport remains open.
- Air Ambulance services will continue.
- Fire Services will continue.
The new owner will be able to make all business decisions for the airport:
- Take over the negotiations for a scheduled passenger service
- Cancel or renegotiate the current fuel agreement
- Create their own leases and terms
- Adjust landing fees and other airport fees
- Manage any issues with non-compliant tenants
The Town will support the new provider by:
- Provide (and pay for) a trained staff member for one year to help in the transition
- Provide (and pay for) training for a water operator to manage the airport water supply
- May agree to financial support for a limited time (not more than two years)(saving regional taxpayers $740,000 per year).
Request for Proposals (RFP) Airport Operations & Ownership
The RFP process brought in several qualified bids that fell into two main categories. One set of options involved having a private non-profit entity, such as a part nine company, owning and operating the airport without municipal subsidies. The other options involve some degree of municipal involvement in ownership, operation and financial subsidies. As a result of the public interest in this decision, Council asked for options to consult with residents on whether they would prefer that the Town, or a non-profit organization, own and operate the airport.
At the January 6 Governance and Priorities, Meeting Town Staff presented consultation options, including phone polling, surveys and a non-binding referendum. During the January 13, Regular Meeting Council voted to proceed with the referendum, as it would provide a formal process accessible to all residents of the Town, they also asked that a written survey be available to those who vote to provide additional written feedback.
In 1996, the Federal Government turned the Peace River Regional Airport over to the Town of Peace River. Recognizing that the airport forms part of the region’s economic, social and medical infrastructure, the Town has worked to maintain and advance the facility.
The current operational model was reached after much deliberation. The Town’s partners have been strong political and financial supporters of the facility but have indicated their preference for having management and operations remain with the Town. As part of this structure, the Town works to ensure municipal partners are kept informed of any concerns.
A timeline of the work done to date to support and advance the airport, as well as important milestones and events is below. Where possible documents have been hyperlinked to the timeline item, if a document is not linked it means no specific document could be found although a reference to it was identified:
1996 – YPE Dehydrated Business Plan 1996 -2001
1996 – Formation of the Peace River Airport Advisory Board (later the Airport Committee)
1997 – Economic Impact Study Peace River Airport
1998 – Update to the 1996 Business Plan
2000 – Discussion Paper re Northern Alberta Airports and Aviation
2000 – Charting a Course in Turbulent Weather: Developing a Business Plan for Peace River Airport
2002 – Study of Viability of Smaller Airports
2002 – Strategic Planning Workshop Summary Report
2002 – Airline Restructuring in Canada
2003 – Peace River Airport: Home of the Peace Regional Airshow (Economic and Social Significance of Airport)
2003 – NADC Study of Air Transportation
2004 – Peace River Airport Strategic Plan
2004 – Federal Study on Regional and Small Airports
2005 – Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of Select Alberta Airports (includes Peace River)
2006 – AB/BC Northern Airports Strategy SWOT Analysis
2007 – Second Draft of Airport Master Plan
2007 – Alberta Small Airports Strategy (Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation)
2007 – Alberta/British Columbia Small Airports Strategy (Sypher Consultancy)
2009 – Formation of the Airport Steering Committee (also called the Airport Review Committee)
2009 – Presentation to Shell re Peace River Regional Airport
2009 – Development of Airport Business Plan
2009 – Review of Airport Governance Models
2009 – Trend Analysis and Backgrounder
2009 – Business plan grant application
2010 – Airport Society initial MOU
2010 – Airport Strategic Marketing Plan
2010 – Proposals submitted for additional marketing programs
2010 – Initial regional funding agreement proposed (postponed until after 2010 election)
2011 – Agreement not completed by 2010 Council
2012 – NADC Viability Strategies Peace River Airport
2013 – Airport Assessment and Gap Report
2014 – Council reopens discussions regarding operation and governance of the airport
2015 – Move to form a Society to govern the Airport
2016 – Memorandum of Association for Peace River Airport Company
2016 – Regional partners opt not to pursue Part 9 Company
In late 2019 Northern Air informed the Town that they would be discontinuing scheduled flight service out of the Peace River Regional Airport. In response to this, in December 2019, the Town of Peace River reinitiated discussions with the owner of Northwestern Air regarding scheduled passenger service. They indicated they were interested but due to logistical issues and a lack of flight crews they would not be in a position to consider providing scheduled service out of Peace River until the end of January or February 2020. The Town had been in contact with Northwestern Air since 2017. In addition to Northwestern the Town also contacted Central Mountain Air in 2017 and again in 2019.
In recent years the airport has faced unprecedented challenges. Economic shifts within some industries have meant reduced air traffic in the region. Since 2017 the Town has been working to prevent the loss of scheduled passenger service, recognizing that this loss would shift an average of $1.1 million in Federal funding per year back to the local ratepayer. This loss, along with the current $740,000 annual deficit, has led the Town to seek innovative solutions for keeping the airport viable. That search for options led into the RFP process.
The Town of Peace River currently owns and operates the Peace River Regional Airport, which costs regional taxpayers over $740,000 per year. The Town is considering alternatives for ownership and management of the airport. All the options being considered to involve turning over operations and ownership to an independent, non-profit organization with a required commitment to preserving current services at the airport such as Air Ambulance and Forestry Services.
Yes, I am in favour of having an independent non-profit organization with a commitment to preserving current services such as Air Ambulance and Forestry services owning and operating the Peace River Regional Airport.
No, I am not in favour of having an independent non-profit organization with a commitment to preserving current services such as Air Ambulance and Forestry services owning and operating the Peace River Regional Airport.
Poll Dates and Locations
Advance Poll – February 1, 10 AM to 8 PM* at Athabasca Hall (9705 98 Ave), Lower Level.
Voting Day – February 5, 10 AM to 8 PM* Athabasca Hall (9705 98 Ave), Lower Level.
The opportunity for written feedback will be at both locations for those who cast a ballot.
Eligibility & ID Requirements
In order to vote in a municipal election or referendum in the Town of Peace River you must be at least 18-years-old, a Canadian citizen, and a resident of the Town of Peace River on the day of the election. You will need to prove your identity and residence with one of the pieces of ID listed below.
If you live in Peace River and also have a post office box, please bring ID that shows your street address not a PO Box.
Proof of identity and current residence is required to be able to vote in municipal elections, including referendums. Any of the following documents that has your name and street address on it will be accepted as valid proof:
- Photo identification issued by a Canadian government or agency, whether federal, provincial or local (Passports are not useable as ID because the address is written in);
- Bank/credit card statement or personal cheque;
- Correspondence issued by a school, college or university;
- Government cheque or cheque stub;
- Income/property tax assessment notice;
- Insurance policy or coverage card;
- Letter from a public curator, public guardian or public trustee;
- Pension Plan statement of benefits, contributions or participation;
- Residential lease or mortgage statement;
- Statement of government benefits: e.g. Employment insurance, old-age security, social assistance, disability support, or child tax benefit;
- Utility bill: e.g. Telephone, public utilities commission, television, electricity, gas or water;
- Vehicle ownership, registration or insurance certificate; or
- A letter or form (attestation) confirming that the person lives at the stated address. The letter can be signed by any of the following: authorized representative of a commercial property management company; authorized representative of a correctional institution; authorized representative of a First Nations band or reserve; authorized representative of a post-secondary institution; authorized representative of a facility that provides services to the homeless; or authorized representative of a supportive living facility or treatment centre.
If a person is eligible to vote and has provided the required proof of eligibility they may sign a statement of voucher stating that:
- They personally know the person who lives at the address indicated and;
- That they truly believe the person named is ordinarily resident at the address listed and eligible to vote;
- It is an offence to make a false statement.
Frequently Asked Questions
What would happen if a new owner is not successful?
The Airport would return to the Town.
What would happen if a new owner goes into debt, would local taxpayers pay?
No. Any transfer agreement would ensure that debt will remain with the company and not return to taxpayers.
What does the Town expect a new owner to do?
A new company would have to:
- Ensure the runway is properly maintained and available for use
- Ensure all critical facilities and equipment are kept operational
- Ensure all Federal and Provincial regulations are followed
- Manage the required safety program
- Is committed to expanding and developing the airport
- Will continue to work on re-establishing scheduled air service
How can a new company save money where the Town could not?
There are several ways this could happen. A company already in the aviation business can save money on supplies, contracts and expertise not available to the Town. The company may consolidate staff and equipment or absorb some costs through other parts of a business.
Will there be any local control of the airport?
Yes. The business plans include seeing local business-persons and airport tenants being involved in governing the airport.
What if I don’t have any photo ID like a driver’s license?
It doesn’t matter. Just bring anything else you have from the above list that has your name and address on it.
Do I need more than one document?
No, only one document with your name and address is needed.
What if I don’t have any accounts or documents in my own name?
Have your landlord, facility, or organization manager sign a letter or form (attestation) to confirm your address and bring it with you to the voting station. Your municipality may have a form that you can use, so check with them. You will have to do this before you come to vote, so plan ahead.
I don’t live in Peace River, Can I still Vote?