CORNWALL, Ontario – The City of Cornwall Council and Township of South Glengarry both received presentations on Monday night, May 31, presenting a business plan and vision for the future of the Cornwall Regional Airport.
The 40 year plan would see the asset undergo significant redevelopment, including extending the runway by 1,500 ft. to accommodate larger jet aircraft.
The business plan that was developed by Explorer Solutions, would see tens of millions of dollars invested in to the airport, which is jointly owned by the City of Cornwall and the Township of South Glengarry.
The business plan suggests that the owners first build more hangers on the site and charge flyers for their use, which the plan estimates would generate $1.1 million to $1.7 million within 20 years can could be used to help fund the rest of the development plan.
Some Cornwall City Councillors however wanted to see the ownership agreement between the Township and the City be re-drawn before any money is invested.
Currently, the airport is run by a joint commission between the two municipalities. The funding model sees Cornwall pay 85 per cent of the airport’s expenses with South Glengarry paying 15 per cent. The airport is located in South Glengarry, meaning that the township is able to collect property taxes from the asset.
“They’re paying 15 per cent and are collecting that taxes which means they are paying less than 15 per cent and I think that needs to be fixed before we talk about investing in the airport,” said Cornwall Councillor Claude McIntosh.
“Its big, its bold, its what we asked for in that something needs to change at the airport,” said Councillor Eric Bergeron. “There are definitely some economic opportunities there, but there needs to be some changes at the commission otherwise this plan will take 80 years.”
At least one councillor questioned whether it was worth the investment at all.
“As far as I’m concerned, why are we in the airport business? Do we really need it,” said Councillor Glen Grant.
Christian Perrault of Explorer Solutions said that new pilots are in high demand and that expanding the airport’s capacity as a flight school, as well as promoting it as a tourism attraction for recreational flyers, could make it economically lucrative.