Airport lease extension grounded until more info received
Sarnia council has held off on approving a lease extension at the city’s airport until further information is received.
The recommended agreement, tabled to the October 25th regular meeting in a 5-4 recorded vote Monday, would see the lease with Scottsdale Aviation extended at Chris Hadfield Airport from October 25 to March 31, 2022.
Councillor Mike Stark wasn’t comfortable moving forward yet.
“I believe that we’re entering a period where we’re looking at a slippery slope on these costs,” said Stark. “I think we’re going to be at $360,000 before we know it and I’m worried that it’s going to continue to escalate.”
Sarnia council approved spending $360,000 this year to keep the airport running after Air Canada pulled its service, reducing its revenue significantly, in 2020.
City Treasurer Holly Reynolds said while the operator’s expenses have been over $30,000 some months, others have been below budget.
“I estimate we have about $150,000 left in the reserve,” said Reynolds.
Councillor Margaret Bird didn’t want to make a decision until she’d read a report from the airport taskforce, expected at the October 25th regular meeting.
“I would prefer to see that report first and then for us to decide how we go forward,” said Bird. “I’m not in favour of extending the contract right now at all.”
Councillors Bill Dennis, George Vandenberg and Nathan Colquhoun also supported the delay.
Councillor Dave Boushy didn’t understand the opposition.
“We have dealt with this gentleman, we have dealt with this organization for a long, long time, we have been friends and they have been faithful to the city and I think there’s a need for it, we just can’t cut him off,” said Boushy.