July 13, 2022

Stephenville Airport deal signed

Jon Robinson

― By Jaymie White, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wreckhouse Weekly News (Photo: Wreckhouse Press)

The Stephenville Airport deal has been signed, sealed and delivered, confirmed Carl Dymond, CEO of Dymond Group of Companies.

“We signed for the Airport today!,” stated Dymond via text message last Tuesday afternoon, June 28.

Dymond first announced his intention to purchase the Stephenville airport Sept. 9, 2021. Few details on the progress of the sale have been made public since then, prompting plenty of skepticism.

The airport’s website, www.cyjt.com, has already gone live, prior to any official news release by the Town of Stephenville or the Dymond Group of Companies.

Stephenville Mayor Tom Rose has long been a staunch supporter of the airport sale to Dymond and the Greater Newfoundland and Labrador Partnership (GNLP).

“I’m very, very, very happy because it breathes new life; a new business plan. It’s an entrepreneur with a vision and the vision is where aerospace is going today. Drones, satellites are big, and the infrastructure that we have here at this airport, built by the US core of engineers, one of the best pieces of infrastructure in North America. It’s paying dividends now for the community, for the province, and for the country.”

Even in the face of delays and public concerns expressed since the announcement last September, Rose never once wavered in his belief that the deal would go through.

“My role is to stay focused, stay positive on the file until there is an absolute saying it’s not going to happen, and to me, I understood the business file pretty good. I understand aerospace and aviation. I started my career as an air traffic controller in the Air Force. I know a little bit about the industry. I’m the former chair of the Airport Authority, the first chairperson in 1990, and it’s interesting. I was 30 years old when I was the first chair of the Airport Authority and the current chairperson, Trevor Murphy, is 30 years old and he’s the chair who made this deal happen. It was a big day for Stephenville, a big day for our council, a big day for the residents of this town, and it breathes new life, new jobs, new economics, and it gives us pride.”

The next steps for the airport will begin with the closing date, when the deed of transfer switches.

“Just like buying a house, funds have to be transferred within the framework of the deal. Then Carl Dymond and his team will start the process of their project management. With all this, there’s engineering that has to happen, capital, tenders, and contracts. So as quick as Carl Dymond and the Greater NL Partnership can start issuing tenders and putting some tangible evidence on the airfield, it’s going to be well welcomed by the community.”

Rose said the fact that Carl Dymond will be taking the airport out of debt is something else that will happen and, even though it won’t be something people can see, it is something to be excited about.

“It’s not like seeing a building being built on the airport, but it’s very, very important because, up to this point, the Town of Stephenville and its council have been using taxpayer money to keep their airport open, and it was a great investment because look where we are today. It showed leadership, not just on this council, but on previous councils that I’ve been part of, and previous councils that I wasn’t part of. We never stopped believing in the airport, but it was to the point that the infrastructure needed new investment, new capital, new corporate abilities, and a network of companies that can actually monetize and make this airport something of value.”

Rose said the benefits for the Town are going to be significant.

“It’s going to be a big savings for taxpayers, revenue for taxpayers, good paying jobs, social/economic benefits to the community, and it’s going to be about family. There may be opportunities for families that – whether it’s a spouse having to go away for rotation and be away from their family, there may be opportunities where they can now look at working in Stephenville. I’m really excited. I’m glad to be a part of it. It was a long 14 months, but when the announcement happened from September to now, for it to happen this fast, it’s really good.”