County council hears about forming airport committee

The future of the Lacombe Airport, located northeast of the City along Hwy. 2A, was up for debate

The future of the Lacombe Airport, located northeast of the City along Hwy. 2A, was up for debate during a regular Lacombe County council meeting on Feb. 12th.

Delegates from the City of Lacombe and the Lacombe Flying Club (LFC) attended council to discuss the formation of the Airport Review Committee. The municipal airport is owned by the City, is operated by the LFC and borders a County property. Private members own the individual hangars.

The LFC has requested a collaborative review of the facility to provide information for long-term planning for the development of the airport. “It’s truly a regional facility that serves our area,” said City of Lacombe CAO Norma MacQuarrie. “We want to promote a regional facility.”

LFC Vice President Dave Scott said the club has 56 members, with 26 of those members being from the County of Lacombe.

“The airport serves a wide variety of uses,” he said. “We have 2,000 to 3,000 movements a year. On average there are six to 10 planes sitting there (during the summer months).”

MacQuarrie noted the two groups, the City of Lacombe and the LFC, want to see the airport review completed to gauge the amount of use of the facility and see what exactly the future could be.

The LFC also plans to look at undertaking a series of upgrades, including resurfacing the runway, constructing a new taxi way, and upgrading the runway lights, totaling close to $542,648.

The potential upgrades were not up for discussion during the meeting, only the formation of the review committee, towards looking at the future of the facility.

Councillor Rod McDermand noted he did not feel comfortable about committing any amount of funds towards such a cause, without knowing all that is involved in the review. “We need to know if we support this facility at all and what is the future of it,” he said.

Lacombe County Commissioner Terry Hagar told council the Club and the City were not asking for money, but inviting the County to participate and place two council members on the committee.

“The committee sounds like a good way to get started,” said Reeve Paula Law. “There is merit in seeing the future of the airport.”

After clarification, councillors were still not sold on the idea, and moved for administration to bring the topic back to the next meeting for review. A decision regarding the review committee will be made then.

City council had previously approved the allocation of $12,500 of City funds towards the review, as well as appointing two councillors, Wayne Armishaw and Bill McQuesten, to the committee.

news@lacombeexpress.com