Draft airport business plan draws heavy fire
The draft business plan for Mountain View County’s two airports made a hard landing at council’s policies and priorities committee meeting Wednesday, as the former reeve chided the plan’s presenters for bringing it forward prematurely.
“Senior management should have commented on it, and the airport management committee, then to P&P,” Div. 6 Coun. Paddy Munro told a delegation led by economic development officer Doug Erdman.
“I’m not at all impressed with the process here.”
The business plan, drafted by a subcommittee of the county’s economic development and tourism advisory committee, also received heavy fire from an unidentified member of the county’s airport management committee, whose written comments Munro read out at the meeting.
“The information in the plan is too general and not specific,” Munro quoted the committee member. “The operations and human resources as presented would be nice but it’s unlikely there would be revenue to support it … The revenue (projection) seems far-fetched as it seems to be based on events and a $10 car parking fee.”
The committee member also warned that holding multiple special events, as the plan proposes, could adversely affect land sales.
“We need a workshop on this and we need to talk to all the people concerned,” Munro said.
Asked by deputy reeve Patricia McKean to identify “at what stage we’re bringing in the current airport committee,” Erdman said a draft copy had been sent to airport management committee members 10 days earlier, but that his office had received no feedback.
“This is really the first cut of this business plan. I expect it to have two or three iterations,” Erdman said, adding, “Some of the attitudes from the past are no longer applicable. The reality is the airports have to be revenue generators … The social-cultural aspects are minimal.”
The draft plan calls for an airport manager “to promote the events side and the aviation side as well,” Erdman said. With both the Olds-Didsbury and Sundre airports to operate, a part-time manager position would also be required as well as part-time administration, he said.
Munro questioned the plan’s proposed governance structure, saying he was “totally opposed” to a management committee having more power.
“I support an airport manager … but under the direction of the CAO, under the direction of council,” he said.
P&P received the draft plan for comments.