Airport Authority Moving Forward

Robert Thomas

The move to create a local airport authority and expand and enhance the present Moose Jaw Municipal Airport (MJMA) moved one step closer as Executive Committee approved a bylaw to establish the Authority.

In a brief presentation, with no questions asked, the Committee voted to proceed with a bylaw to establish a Moose Jaw Municipal Airport Authority (MJMAA) under the auspices of Council.

The Authority is planning to expand and upgrade the runway at an estimated cost of $2,864,660.

The runway would be lengthened from the present 2954 feet to 4000 feet.

Funding would come from a $500,000 grant from the City, a $500,000 loan from the airport group and applying for federal and provincial funding.

The annual cost to the taxpayers would be an annual grant of $30,000 from the City, a matching $30,000 grant from the RM of Moose Jaw and the loss of $68,000 annually from farmland leases.
The Airport Authority would be a select committee of Council comprised of 7 members. Four members must be from Moose Jaw, including the mayor and three may be appointed from the aviation and aerospace industries including the RM of Moose Jaw.

Each member will serve two years and up to a maximum of six years under Council's discretion.
All members will serve as brand ambassadors of MJMA and promote strategic initiatives to other orders of government pertaining to funding requests or policy decisions.

Council must annually approve the strategic and operational plan as well as the operating and capital budget, any proposed leases, procurements and report staffing levels.

In the reports accompanying the request was a letter stating that in order to make use of the MJMA for training purposes the minimum runway length is 3,000 feet but optimally a runway length of 4500 feet was needed to operate CT-156 Harvard training aircraft out of MJMA.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the City, Sask Polytechnic and CAE to look into the potential of developing a drone training course at MJMA.

SEE RELATED - Drone Program Coming Closer to Reality

Neither the Department of National Defence (DND) nor 15 Wing has ever committed to using the MJMA for training purposes if the runway was ever upgraded.

In order for the MJMAA Bylaw to pass it must first receive three readings at Council.