February 10, 2015 - 7:30 PM
PENTICTON - Transport Canada wants out of the airport management business in Penticton.
The federal department notified the regional district last October of a new review of airport policy.
After an initial review in 1992, Transport Canada divested itself of 128 airport properties across the country. Eighteen other airport properties reviewed at that time were not transferred out of Transport Canada control.The current review is looking at five different airports in four different provinces that are currently managed by Transport Canada, including Penticton Regional Airport.
“Transport Canada wants to play the role of regulator, not owner-manager,” Regional District Okanagan Similkameen Chief Administrative Officer Bill Newell said.
Transport Canada will be meeting with the Penticton Indian Band to discuss a land issue on Feb. 18, and further consultation with local governments is anticipated.
“They may be available, shortly after that, to meet with the joint council,” Newell told the board at last week’s regular meeting.
The joint council is made up of three Indian bands - the Lower Similkameen, Osoyoos and Penticton bands, the City of Penticton and the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen.
Newell said discussions with Transport Canada would probably include governance options as it looks for ways to turn the facility over to one or more local governments, by creating an airport authority structure or by leasing to a private corporation. He said the board was interested in being part of the discussions.
“We see the airport as a regional resource,” he said, adding regional district municipalities were also interested in the discussions.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015