Saugeen Municipal Airport Looking To Upgrade Facilities

The Saugeen Municipal Airport is operating smoothly, but needs some upgrades.

Manager Dave Kennedy, alongside vice-chair Dave Schmidt, spoke to Hanover Council Monday night in regards to a one-time grant.

Kennedy says while the airport remains a great asset, there is still a need for some financial assistance to maintain it.

“A lot of it is physical work, like repairing fences, buildings and runways,” he says. “Everything does cost money, so we are requesting a little bit to try and top off a few things for next year.”

The grant request is for $32,000, to be split between Hanover, West Grey and Brockton.  On top of maintaining and upgrading certain aspects of the airport, the airport commission is looking for ways to bring in more revenue also. During their presentation to council, Kennedy shed some light on a potential solar project at the airport.

“What we’ve done is made an application to the solar project for a contract for 20 years,” says Kennedy. “We won’t know the answer until it’s been reviewed by the government, and that won’t come until late spring or early summer next year.”

Kennedy notes that the next step would be obtaining the finances to build the project, which could net the airport roughly $2.2-million in revenue after loan payments, which could go toward replacing the aging runway.  The project would be a 600-kilowatt installation, with 500 on the ground and 100 on a hangar roof.

Another point brought up in the presentation was Kennedy’s prediction that with increasing air traffic, big airports like Pearson in Toronto will be too overrun to support certain aspects of their current facilities.   He says that could have a positive effect on small municipal airports like Saugeen.

“Estimates say in ten years, Pearson will be 20% overrun, and won’t be able to accommodate all that air traffic, which will push people to London, Kitchener, or even Hamilton,” he says. “So, what that does is it squeezes out the smaller business such as aircraft maintenance and painting shops, even training centres, from those airports. So those businesses look to smaller airports that aren’t as busy, and Saugeen is in an ideal location geographically to possibly accommodate those type of businesses.”