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Wednesday, 25 July 2012 10:00

City approves master plan for Swift Current airport

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The extension of the main runway at the Swift Current airport to accommodate larger, commuter size air services is one of the key proposals in a new master plan for the facility.

Councillors approved the master plan for Swift Current airport at their regular council meeting on July 23. The document will be used as an overall planning guide for future development.

The process to develop the master plan was undertaken by LPS Avia Consulting, an Ottawa based air transport consulting firm with experience in developing airport master plans across Canada.

Swift Current Airport Superintendent Todd Schultz said the purpose of the master plan study was to identify deficiencies in the airport’s facilities and infrastructure.

“There are some concerns within the community that there isn’t really a scheduled air service here or even a chartered air service for that matter,” he noted.
He cautioned that the implementation of proposals in the plan will be guided by the City’s population growth, which will create a demand for a higher level of airport service.
“There are some enhancements we need to make to attract that sort of service, but we don’t necessarily want to make them prematurely, spend an unnecessary amount of capital on a service that is not yet mandated,” he said. “The market will approach us to supply those services, so we need to maintain the facility to a point that we are appealing to air operators.”
The airport’s main runway of 1,295 metres can accommodate charter activities of nine-passenger King Air 350 type aircraft. The master plan recommended a westerly extension of the runway to 1,524 metres, which will accommodate commuter air services up to 19-passenger Beech 1900D type aircraft.
The report highlights the airport’s strategic location between Regina and Medicine Hat. Its current economic impact includes six employment positions and gross revenues of $1.2 million annually in the community.
The master plan details proposals for essential and desirable future improvements at the airport, including commercial development.
“There’s a great deal of readily available real estate at the airport and utilities are available,” Schultz said.
The report recommends that the City continues to own and operate the airport as a municipal facility. To reduce the level of financial support from the City, it is suggested that airport user fees are implemented.
Affordable home ownership development
The City is supporting the development of entry level homes in Swift Current by providing a five-year assessment exemption for 32 apartment units.
The development, which consists of four buildings of eight apartment style condos each, is located at 825 Gladstone Street East. It is targeted at affordable home ownership by younger families as well as older empty nesters.
Swift Current based D3 Developers Inc. is responsible for the current construction of the units. The development is part of the provincial Head Start on a Home program, which requires a commitment from the local authority for the project.
The five-year assessment exemption that was approved at the July 23 council meeting is similar to the City’s exemption for new homes in the inner city areas.
Proposed SaskTel towers
Council approved SaskTel’s proposal for the construction of two 45.7 metre high monopole-style cellular towers within City limits. As one of the towers will be on City land, councillors also approved an agreement to sell 0.5 acres of land to the crown corporation for $20,000.
Director of Engineering Mac Forster said this was the first step in a fairly lengthy process for SaskTel to obtain approval from the federal regulator, Industry Canada.
“There’s a public consultation process where people get opportunity to voice concerns,” he mentioned. “It will probably take the better part of a year to get the process finalized.”
The decisions taken at the council meeting are subject to successful completion of the regulatory process.
“We will reserve the property for SaskTel, but until the approval is finalized we will not transfer any property,” he said.
The new facilities would be similar to the existing tower and equipment building that was constructed two years ago north of the Living Sky Casino. SaskTel has identified the need to enhance cellular telephone service on the city’s east and west sides.
The proposed west side tower will be located on vacant City land on the east side of 11th Avenue SW, which is immediately south of the City Light and Power storage yard. It is currently a horse pasture area that is zoned as parkway land.
The proposed tower site on the city’s east side is on private land on the northwest corner of Walker Street and 21st Avenue NE, which is zoned for industrial and commercial use.

Read 4270 times Last modified on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 10:13