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 re: The essential truths about a small-town airport

If the four basic principles Mr. Macdonald applies to the airport were applied to all other municipal infrastructure we would see the disappearance of city buses, parks, rinks, sports fields, libraries, galleries and museums.

City council has identified the problem correctly: many organizations benefit from the airport either through direct use or spinoff business, but they make no financial contribution to its operation. Among them are DND, Ornge, Ministry of Health, GBRHC, RCMP, OPP, Search and Rescue, Town of Meaford, local businesses and others. But rather than using its influence to extract contributions from these organizations the city has imposed an ill designed landing fee with disastrous but predicable results.

No other small municipal airport in Canada charges light recreational aircraft a landing fee because air traffic collapses and avgas sales do the same. That has happened in Owen Sound and continues. There are few better ways to scuttle an airport than to impose a landing fee.

If one is against airports as a personal choice that is fair enough, but suggesting the Owen Sound airport is an undue financial burden on taxpayers ignores some simple facts. If the city’s claim that the annual deficit is $220K can be taken at face value it means the annual cost to operate the airport is $10 per Owen Sounder. Is that really an undue burden?

The airport is a valuable asset that could be used to attract visitors, new residents and small owner operated businesses. It should not be wasted. City council only needs the will.

Dan Mersich
Owen Sound



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