Bid for airport turned down by council

Council turns down $50,000 bid for Rimbey airport which was lower than reserve bid of $125,000

 

An offer of $50,000 to purchase the Rimbey airport was turned down by council last week.

The motion to deny the offer was passed unanimously following an in-camera session at the Aug. 22 meeting.

Council opened the sealed bid during the meeting, but opted to go in-camera to discuss the issue as it was pertaining to the purchase or sale of land.

The sealed bid came from Gerald Ernst, Peter Couchman, Paul Kusch and Wayne Danser and is the second time the men have made an offer of $50,000 to purchase the property.

Mayor Rick Pankiw said the first offer was rejected because the municipal government act states town owned land needs to be appraised and advertised and put out for bids, which must be sealed and delivered to the town.

Council made the decision to move toward the sale of the Rimbey Airport following an in-camera discussion at its regular council meeting, July 25. They set a reserve bid on the property of $125,000. It has been assessed earlier at $104,600.

“We put the reserve bid on for a reason. Now we will have to back to the drawing board and figure out what we want to do,” said Pankiw.

The mayor said the bid of $50,000 was the focus of the in-camera discussion and future plans for the airport were not brought to the table.

Gerald Ernst said the potential buyers respect council’s decision.

“We are disappointed,” added Paul Kusch.

The Rimbey airport was originally owned by Ponoka County and sold to the Town of Rimbey for one dollar. However, former interim CAO Donna Tona said because it was a sale of land belonging to one municipality being sold to another municipality, the same process of advertising and accepting bids wasn’t required.

Ernst said the men who put in the offer, himself included, are all concerned about the continued decline in the quality and usability of the Rimbey airport.

The men want to bring the airport and runway conditions back to its original state.

“We want the airport to be a vibrant asset for the community and we want people to congratulate the town of Rimbey on the quality of the facility in their community,” said Ernst.

Rimbey airport is one of hundreds of airports Transport Canada constructed and owned across Canada. All of these airports with the exception of Churchill airport, were signed over the local jurisdictions, flying clubs and various municipalities and associations without financial return to Transport Canada.

In the public notice of sale of land for the Rimbey airport it states that the parcel of land which is approximately 60 acres must remain an airport and purchasers must create an airport authority.

Council has agreed to continue leasing the airport for $720 per year until a decision has been made as to what they wish to do with the land. A decision may be made by the end of September.