Beiseker village plans to sell local airport

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The village of Beiseker hopes to sell its local airport, citing the high costs associated with the installation and the staff’s lack of expertise in its management.

The village of Beiseker hopes to sell its local airport, citing the high costs associated with the installation and the staff’s lack of expertise in its management.

After a recent village council meeting included a discussion about the potential sale of the airport, the municipality posted an article on its Facebook page to inform residents of the proposed amenity sale. The message was written by Executive Director Heather Leslie and signed by members of the Beiseker Village Council.

Leslie, when subsequently joined, said the board approved a decision in April 2020 to proceed with the offer to sell Beiseker Airport to a private entity.

“The concept is that the airport should be properly maintained by someone who has a vested interest in it – by professionals who know how to run an airport, rather than people who have no experience in this area, who are the staff of the village office, ”she said.

Beiseker Airport was established in 1984, according to the village, and is located just east of the city limits. For a while it belonged to a number of local municipalities.

In 2010, the Government of Alberta transferred ownership of the airport to the village of Beiseker and provided approximately $ 1 million in funding for the resurfacing of the runway.

According to Leslie, the village owns the land on which the airport sits, even though it is located in Rocky View County. This means that all development of the facility is approved and regulated by the county, rather than the village.

“Currently, the county provides the village with the property taxes imposed on the land, but these funds do not cover the costs of operating the airport,” the village’s Facebook post said, adding that airport revenue does not replace spending only about $ 7,000 per year. .

Beiseker’s council has discussed the possibility of selling the airport since 2019, said Warren Wise, a recently re-elected councilor who was Beiseker’s last mayor. (The post of mayor will be appointed at the first meeting of the new council on October 26).

“The real issue is what benefit the village owned and operated airport brings to the village,” he said. “We looked at it and decided that the benefits it brings are limited, and the responsibility of operating an airport is really beyond what the village is capable of doing.”

Wise said the airport is currently very active, housing a parachuting business and flight school, as well as private hangars on rented properties where pilots store their small planes. A cafe is also located on the airport grounds.

Leslie said the village recently commissioned a technical study which indicated that the life of the airport’s current runway and taxiway is around 18 years, and that the installation will again require maintenance. and a resurfacing of the track in the future.

“Although we have been told that the provincial government is under pressure to cover these costs, there is no guarantee,” his post said. “Given the current state of the provincial deficit, council believes it would not be prudent to rely on this funding.

“Beiseker’s council is not prepared for the costs of these repairs to become the responsibility of taxpayers and villagers,” she added.

His Facebook post said that before the village can proceed with the sale of the airport, the municipality must first obtain clearance from the Alberta Ministry of Transportation. According to Leslie, this permission was initially requested in April 2020 and approval was eventually received in September.

Leslie added that whether the village of Beiseker or some other private entity owns the facility, its future will likely be to remain an airport.

“The airport is unlikely to change use as a result of the sale,” she said. “The leases that are currently signed will be transferred to the new owner following the sale. ”

The Village post said the airport sale would likely be announced in November. The council has set a price tag of $ 1.3 million, according to the Facebook post, which matches the current assessment of the facility’s property value by Rocky View County.

However, Leslie said the numbers and deadlines are not set in stone, adding that the new village council will be responsible for making those decisions.

“By order of the Minister of Transport, the village will be required to spend or hold this money for current and future road / transport needs,” the post said. “Given the condition of some roads in the village and the constant need for repairs, this money would go a long way in ensuring that our roads remain safe and well maintained. “


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