McLennan to request full disclosure on airport’s operations

Negotiations continue

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The Town of McLennan wants full disclosure on the Smoky River Regional Airport’s operations before making a firm decision on how much money they want to give.

However, council also realizes the airport is a vital facility to the entire region worthy of support.

The airport agreement was discussed at council’s Dec. 14 meeting. Council heard that the agreement, which involves several municipal partners in the region, is “back to the drawing board” after two of the partners refused the latest proposal from the M.D. of Smoky River, which operates the facility.

A meeting is scheduled for January to hash out the agreement.

“This has really gotten quite technical,” said Councillor Marie-Anne Jones, regarding who attends meetings and who doesn’t.

“We had quite a heated meeting and accomplished nothing,” added Councillor Christen Eckhard regarding the previous meeting.

“They want to see more revenue generated from the airport,” said CAO Lorraine Willier.

The percentage of funding is also disputed. The M.D. wants its partners to pay on a 60-40 split with the M.D. picking up the larger portion. Eckhard wants a 70-30 split.

Eckhard agreed revenue was a concern.

“How much do some planes pay anywhere else?”

Despite the problems, Councillor Sue Delaurier reminded council what is important.

“We need that airport. We need that Medi-vac [service].”

Delaurier added she wanted the M.D. to provide full disclosure of all operations so council knew every expense from snow clearing, grass cutting, debentures, etc. Only then, she added, could council make a fair decision, even if it meant costing them more money.

“Fair is fair,” she said.

Eckhard was discouraged over the entire process and what he saw as a heavy-handed approach from the M.D.

“The M.D. is almost coming down like a dictator,” he said.

McLennan’s two major concerns to be brought forward at the January meeting are they want a 70-30 split of operations expenses, and full disclosure of expenses from the M.D.

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