Town council and pilots using airport will negotiate

Negotiations are pending between pilots who use the Rimbey airport and town council.

 

By Treena Mielke

Negotiations are pending between pilots who use the Rimbey airport and town council.

At its Monday meeting, council met with Paul Kusch and Wayne Dancer to discuss a proposed rent increase for use of the hangars from $250 to $1,300 a year.

At a previous meeting, Mayor Rick Pankiw had questioned the pilots trenching into the town’s power supply without notifying the appropriate people.

However, Dancer said the former assistant CAO and CAO had both been notified of the transaction and had given the okay.

A letter written by another pilot who uses the airport, but who was not in attendance clarified the power was included in the lease agreement.

The pilots in attendance at the meeting pointed out that the runway cannot be used in the winter and there are no lights.

“We can only use it for four months and then we’re shut down,” said Kusch.

He also questioned the sale of the lights.

“Why were we not contacted?” he questioned.

However, Pankiw said council was told the lights were not salvageable.

He added the lights were given to Lacombe Flying Club who said they could use them for parts. In exchange the club donated funding to the skateboard park.

Pankiw also said he had a conversation with another pilot 27 months ago during which time he encouraged him to come forward with a vision and a plan for the airport.

“We believe it (the airport) could draw traffic to the town,” he said.

However, he said he never heard back from the individual.

“We can’t turn the clock back and we need to move forward,” he said.

The possibility of the town selling the airport was discussed as well as other options for a rental agreement. A proposal to have the pilots themselves cut the grass to cut down on the cost of maintenance was shot down.

“We don’t have time to cut the grass and fly, too,” said Dancer.

The issue has been tabled until the first meeting in June.