Two sealed bids for the purchase of the Rimbey airport opened in council at its Monday meeting did not net the desired outcome for the bidders.
The airport will not be sold.
At its meeting, Oct. 24, council opened a bid from Gerald Ernst, Peter Couchman, Paul Kusch and Wayne Danser to purchase the airport for $52,500. They also opened a bid from The County of Ponoka to purchase the airport for the sum of $1.
Council had advertised for the sale of the airport with a reserve bid of $125,000. The property has been assessed at $104,600.
Both bids were rejected by council, who discussed the issue in-camera.
“We are not interested in selling the airport,” said Mayor Rick Pankiw. “We don’t see any advantage to it.”
He noted the airport was not purchased from Ponoka county originally, as was stated in the Review earlier. The incorrect information was provided by former interim CAO Donna Tona.
Pankiw said the airport was purchased from Transport Canada. He said the airport is, however, on county land.
After coming out of the in-camera session council passed a motion to charge 2015 lease rates for the hangers at the airport. The fees are to increase by 10 per cent per year for the next five years.
“We’re back to where we were (in 2015) regarding the airport,” he said.
Peter Couchman, one of the pilots who put in a bid for the airport said he is very disappointed with council’s decision.
“I was hoping they would have more foresight,” he said. “It is a very sad day for me.”
Couchman said he “will almost certainly sell his hanger” which he owns at the airport.
Couchman said he sees council’s decision as “the beginning of the end” for the airport. “You can’t expect the airport to survive without much needed expertise,” he said.
The men who put in a bid to purchase the airport had plans to bring it back to its original state. They planned to upgrade it to include 24-hour use and obtain the status of ‘registered airport’ with Transport Canada.