Oro-Medonte council lands unanimous vote to sell airport shares
With a unanimous vote, Oro-Medonte councillors made it official.
The township wants to hand over the controls to its shares of the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport for $1.5-million.
The deputy mayor, Scott Jermey, says the capital just wasn't there to put into the airport any longer. "We felt we had to look after our residents and our roads and recreational needs."
The decision by the township comes amidst a $60-million growth plan for the Oro-Medonte airport.
The expansion is expected to take years and will happen in three phases. The runway will be lengthened by 1,000 feet, navigation aids will be installed to accommodate larger planes, and there are plans to eventually build a new terminal.
"I think this will make the best result for the airport, if we get out of the way, so to speak, and let the airport grow as it needs to," Jermey says.
Oro-Medonte and the County of Simcoe each currently hold 20 percent of the shares in the airport, while Barrie holds the remaining 60 percent.
Last month, Barrie voted to sell all but 10 percent of its shares to the County for nearly $4-million, which would make the County the majority shareholder.
Trevor Wilcox, General Manager of Corporate Performance with the County of Simcoe, says the airport is a massive asset to the region. "The gain really is development. So expanding the role of the airport and expanding what can happen at the airport, bringing jobs and prosperity to the area."
County Council will meet on August 13th when staff will present their report and recommendations to councillors. If they vote to accept the offers from both municipalities, the County will own 90 percent of the airport shares, therefore shouldering nearly the entire burden of financing the expansion.