Rental agreement between town and airport caretaker to be negotiated

A rental agreement between the Town of Rimbey and Evelyn Prince, the caretaker of the town's airport, is still up in the air.

 

A rental agreement between the Town of Rimbey and Evelyn Prince, the caretaker of the town’s airport, is still up in the air.

Prince met with council at its March 30 meeting to discuss a letter she had received notifying her that the town wanted to change her contract and begin charging her rent.

Prince and her husband, who passed away in 2008, had purchased a mobile home on airport property which belongs to the town 23 years ago. At that time town officials agreed that the couple would live on the property and perform caretaking duties in exchange for rent.

The arrangement worked well, with the Prince couple performing caretaking duties, looking after maintenance and being watchdogs for the town if any suspicious activity was going on. She noted that pilots who leave their planes at the hangers do so with the assurance that someone is there to keep an eye on the place.

Prince makes arrangements to pay someone to check on the airport property when she is away.

Council sold the runway lights several months ago to the Lacombe Flying Club, who made $1,000 donation to the skateboard park in exchange for the lights.

The airport lights were installed in the early ‘80s and some work was done on the system in 2006. However, public works foreman Rick Schmidt told council the wiring had been severely damaged due to rodents.

Prince said she saw a helicopter, she believed to be a STARS air ambulance landing at about 9 p.m. this year before Alberta switched to daylight savings time. She said it would have been difficult landing.

“It is pitch black there, there is not even a yard light.”

The previous CAO for the town was to have notified Transport Canada that the lights had been

 

A rental agreement between the Town of Rimbey and Evelyn Prince, the caretaker of the town’s airport, is still up in the air.

Prince met with council at its March 30 meeting to discuss a letter she had received notifying her that the town wanted to change her contract and begin charging her rent.

Prince and her husband, who passed away in 2008, had purchased a mobile home on airport property which belongs to the town 23 years ago. At that time town officials agreed that the couple would live on the property and perform caretaking duties in exchange for rent.

The arrangement worked well, with the Prince couple performing caretaking duties, looking after maintenance and being watchdogs for the town if any suspicious activity was going on. She noted that pilots who leave their planes at the hangers do so with the assurance that someone is there to keep an eye on the place.

Prince makes arrangements to pay someone to check on the airport property when she is away.

Council sold the runway lights several months ago to the Lacombe Flying Club, who made $1,000 donation to the skateboard park in exchange for the lights.

The airport lights were installed in the early ‘80s and some work was done on the system in 2006. However, public works foreman Rick Schmidt told council the wiring had been severely damaged due to rodents.

Prince said she saw a helicopter, she believed to be a STARS air ambulance landing at about 9 p.m. this year before Alberta switched to daylight savings time. She said it would have been difficult landing.

“It is pitch black there, there is not even a yard light.”

The previous CAO for the town was to have notified Transport Canada that the lights had been removed to ascertain the airport is licensed for landing only during daylight hours.

After more than two decades of being caretaker for the airport, Prince thought things were going well. She said she saw the situation as a win/win. Taxes for the property are paid to the County of Ponoka and she pays her own power and looks after her own garbage.

“I do really like it,” she said. “I don’t cost the town anything and I don’t ask for anything.”

When she received a letter from the town she made an appointment to attend a council meeting as a delegation so as to gain a better understanding of what was required of her.

Suggestions of charging rental fees ranging from $250 to $500 a month were brought up by councilors at the March 30 meeting.

However, interim CAO Donna Tona said she would draw up a new contract and sit down with Prince at a time yet to be arranged to negotiate rent as well as the duties she was expected to perform.