June 16, 2022

Huronia Airport Task Force presents its final report

Jon Robinson

— By Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca

Two-thirds of the Huronia Airport municipal partnership group wants to know exactly what it has and hopes the town of Midland will want to know too.

In April, a public meeting was held by the Huronia Airport Task Force who presented its final report to the three joint-member municipalities: Tiny Township where airport CYEE is located at 20 Ed Connelly Drive, and the neighbouring towns of Midland and Penetanguishene.

Following the highly praised event, the Huronia Airport Commission (HAC) recognized that to keep with industry best practices, a comprehensive survey of the airport and its key features would be required in moving forward.

The one-time cost of the project was estimated at $60,000 plus HST, an amount that the HAC was requesting councils provide as divided by their portions: Tiny Township was asked to provide $14,916 or 22 per cent of the amount; Penetanguishene was asked for $18,984 or 28 per cent; with Midland to be asked for $33,900 or 50 per cent of the full amount.

At a recent regular meeting of Tiny council, planning and development director Shawn Persaud provided an overview of the HAC request, explaining that while parts of reference plans were available for the property, a complete survey had never been made.

“We had gone out for quotes from surveying companies with regards to a survey of the property,” said Persaud, “which would be a boundary survey – (that would also) pick up all the existing buildings and structures, the runway, the road allowance, any above-ground utilities – in order to move forward with some of the other initiatives that the task force wants to proceed with.”

Tiny CAO Robert Lamb suggested that the request be accepted on the contingency that Penetanguishene and Midland councils also accept the HAC ask, which appealed to Tiny council. Director of finance/treasurer Haley Leblond informed council that the $14,916 request, extraneous to the 2022 airport budget, would be drawn from infrastructure reserves if carried.

Support from Tiny council was granted, with the question raised if the full survey was required all at once in the beginning; Persaud replied that although segmenting the survey area was discussed by the task force, their consensus to do the entirety of the property was critical.

“There’s definitely efficiencies to do the whole property at once,” said Persaud. “I think with some of the other studies that are required for further development and investigation, like environmental and engineering, that will be chunked off into specific sections.”

Tiny council approved the request.

Hours later, the matter came before Penetanguishene at their committee of the whole meeting. Coun. Dan La Rose summarized the request of the three municipal partners.

“(The report was presented) as: ‘it’s a great big project, a great big area, it’s different because it’s owned by all three municipalities, but this is going to be our first start,’” said La Rose. “We need to know what we own, what we have, where it is, and what we can do with the leftover properties.”

Other members of the committee praised the HAC in their efforts, including Coun. George Vadeboncoeur who looked at the survey as core information required.

“Undertaking this comprehensive land survey is fundamental to the airport,” said Vadeboncoeur, “and once all those features are identified, they have a legal survey on which to make further decisions on the future of the airport.”

Penetanguishene CAO Jeff Lees informed the committee that Tiny Township had added the tri-party agreement contingency and passed the request earlier in the day. He also noted that staff recommended the service-related $18,984 amount be funded through the town’s service delivery review reserve.

It was carried by the Penetanguishene committee of the whole, to return for formal discussion and final decision at the July 13 regular meeting of council.

Midland council will discuss the $33,900 request by the HAC at their next regular meeting on June 15.

(Photo: Huronia Airport)