© Todd Lihou
From left are Mayor Bob Kilger, Second World War vet Leonard Hart and RCAFA Wing 424 president Ray Summers, cutting the ribbon on new public-access docks at the facility.
CORNWALL, Ontario - Leadership with the Royal Canadian Air Force Association and a city committee have met to discuss the possibility of the municipality assuming stewardship of the club's waterfront property.
While it's still early days the talks could ultimately result in the city signing a lease with the federal government, which owns the land, and then sub-lease the property to RCAFA Wing 424.
The move would make things easier for the wing to secure things like government grants to upgrade their deteriorating building, which used to be the lock master's home during the days of Cornwall Canal.
"We're looking at ways to save the RCAFA and get control of the lands," said Coun. Denis Thibault. "It would be foolish not to do so."
But it won't come quickly.
While RCAFA leadership met with the committee just days ago to discuss the matter, a formal request from the club to have the city investigate the plan with the federal government would have to be made.
That request must then be forwarded to city council for approval, and then municipal staffers can engage with their federal counterparts to hammer out details.
"It was really put back to them to do a formal request," said city planning manager Stephen Alexander. "The city (could) become the lessee. The city would then sub-lease to them (RCAFA)."
It wouldn't be the first time such a scenario played out. The Cornwall Curling Club sits on federal land that the city subleases to that group.
Ray Summers, president of RCAFA Wing 424 declined to comment.
"I've been told to keep a low-profile," he said.
The wing has found itself in search of a long-term lease with the federal government for years, but has been unable to secure such an agreement. The hang up has been the federal government's unwillingness to sign such a document.
A lucrative grant to upgrade the RCAFA building cannot be secured by the club unless it can show proof that is has signed a long-term agreement to stay in its current home.