News Local

Petawawa won't contribute to Project Runway

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Pembroke and Area Airport

Pembroke and Area Airport

 

PETAWAWA – Council won't be shelling out $5,000 a year for a new runway for the Pembroke and Area Airport until they see the overall plan for the refurbishment of the aging facility.

Responding to a resolution from the City of Pembroke, council declined to make a decision Monday night opting to wait for a business case to be presented by the airport commission. Councillor Theresa Sabourin, who represents the town on the commission, said they need a roadmap of what infrastructure needs to be replaced and how they will pay for it.

“We don't know what is ahead of us at this stage of the game,” she said.

An economic impact and infrastructure review released by the airport commission in 2015 showed that $7 million will be needed for the necessary upgrades. The replacing and resurfacing of the runways and aprons alone is estimated to cost $6.9 million. Another $316,000 would be needed to replace the lighting, while the fuel storage facilities are nearly the end of their life cycle.

Recently, the airport launched Project Runway, a campaign that is asking community members support their region’s airport by purchasing a foot of runway for $250. With 5,000 feet of runway and a cost of $250 per foot, the campaign’s ultimate goal is to raise $1.25-million to repave the runway. In October, Pembroke council passed a motion put forward by Councillor Andrew Plummer challenging Petawawa, Laurentian Valley and Laurentian Hills to commit to contributing $5,000 annually beginning in 2018 for the paving of the new runway.

However, council wanted to pump the brakes on this proposition at this time. Councillor James Carmody said that each member municipality has asked for a business plan so they will know how their money will be spent.

“It would be premature to authorize any kind of spending at this point seeing as how we have yet to receive a business plan,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Tom Mohns said there are quite a lot of things that need to be refurbished and replaced at the airport so priorities will have to be set.

“Everyone wants the airport to succeed but it has to be a good business case,” said Mohns. “I don't think the time is right. We have to wait for the business plan.”

Council decided to table the Pembroke resolution.

SChase@postmedia.com