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The airport runway is the most important main street in any town.

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Presentation on theme: "The airport runway is the most important main street in any town."— Presentation transcript:

1 The airport runway is the most important main street in any town.
- Norm Crabtree, former aviation director of Ohio

2 Almaguin Highlands Air Park
“the winds are calm, ceiling is unlimited….. Opportunity… You are cleared for take-off!” Prepared by: Jason Ready 2013

3 Almaguin Highlands Air Park
Background In the early 1930’s our national economy had yet to recover from the stock-market crash of the late 1920’s. Faced with record unemployment, several “make work projects” were commissioned by the federal and provincial governments. Some of these projects included the creation of a Canada wide network of airfields to serve the route system of a fledgling Trans-Canada Airways (the forerunner to what we now know as Air Canada).

4 Almaguin Highlands Air Park
Background The property in Joly Township where the airport now exists was identified as a prime location for one of these reliever airports. A work gang of local men were hired and used horse drawn slush-scrapers (similar to the ones shown in this picture) to carve out two runways from what was at the time crown land.

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Background The airport immediately saw the arrival of bushplanes that used the airport as a stop-over on their way north to the gold and silver mining and exploration camps of northern Ontario.

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Background In May of 1934, this part of Ontario was thrust into the international spotlight with the birth of the Dionne Quintuplets in nearby Corbeil. The airfield at North Bay was still being built, therefore the airport at South River became the closest airport available to print and radio media outlets. Aircraft from all over North America, like this Waco cabin bi-plane from the New York Daily News were regular visitors, with reporters in tow.

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Background Famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart was one of the many celebrities of the era that visited the Dionne Quintuplets. There is even some unconfirmed speculation that she and her husband landed at Almaguin for their visit (North Bay airport didn’t exist yet). This was mere weeks before she tragically disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.

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Background With the advent of the second world war, the airport had more military value.  (There was some training done here and it retained its value as an emergency landing field.) After WWII, the airport remained dormant for quite a while.  The military continued to use it periodically from year to year.

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Background Later, according to federal government policies, it was turned over to the province of Ontario.   It fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of Lands and Forests (now the MNR).  The ministry was considering replanting trees on the airport property when local opposition put a halt to the project. Local municipalities were then asked if they would be interested in re-developing the airport.  A lease agreement was negotiated, allowing the airport to be owned by the Village of South River. The MNR to this day maintains control of the surrounding property not occupied by the aircraft maneuvering areas (runways, taxiways and airport buildings).

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Background During subsequent years, the Village of South River entered into an agreement with the Village of Sundridge and the Townships of Machar, Strong and Joly and this partnership ran the airport through municipal committee. The Village of South River maintained administrative responsibilities on behalf of the partnership.

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In 2010, the airport committee, with grant assistance from FedNor and the NECO Community Futures Development Corporation, contracted world class airport planning consultants LPS-Avia to develop a Master Airport Development Plan. This professionally prepared plan continues to provide managers and stakeholders with a concrete blueprint for short, medium and long term strategic direction. It also recommends industry recognized options for developing the airport. It is the intention of the current stakeholders to pursue the opportunities and direction laid out in the plan. This is being done in order to realize the full value of their investment in obtaining this invaluable airport development expertise.

12 Almaguin Highlands Air Park
Current Status In late 2011, the Village of South River notified the other partnership members of it’s intention to opt-out of it’s ownership interest effective 2012. Early in 2012 the Township of Machar also announced their intention to rescind their ownership interest. Today the the airport is jointly owned by the Village Sundridge and the Townships of Strong and Joly.  The administration of the airport is handled by the Township of Joly.

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Current Status The airport was (and continues to be) classified by Transport Canada as a public aerodrome, with designated airport identifier “CPE6” by NavCanada. Since the beginning of it’s history, it has continued to operate and be maintained to the standard of public aerodrome, and owned as an asset of the community. As stated in a previous slide, the surrounding crown land and property remained the jurisdiction of the MNR, as illustrated on the following slides:

14 Approximate Air Park Boundary

15 Approximate Air Park Boundary

16 Approximate area that belongs to the MNR

17 Approximate area that belongs to the MNR

18 Almaguin Highlands Air Park
Current Status The airport currently has the following facilities: 2 turf (grass) runways with retro-reflective runway markings float plane access to the South River waterway system via a graded ramp on the northeast airport boundary an ad-hoc “terminal building” with meeting / office space, “pilot lounge”, basic flight planning facilities and washroom airport maintenance equipment and indoor storage for same on site aviation fuel storage and sales 5 privately owned hangers

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Regular Users South River / Sundridge Flying Club (based at the airport) DTR Enterprises (owner of the new hanger, 2 planes) a handful of privately owned aircraft

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Occasional Users MNR – spring fish stocking program OPP – highway patrols/enforcement and other criminal investigations Canadian Owners & Pilots Association (COPA) Flight 23 itinerant aircraft (those only stopping for fuel or rest while enroute to other destinations). We need to give them a reason to stay!!

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Who else could use our airport?? An airport is a “port-in-the-storm” for any aircraft in need of a place to land when the weather deteriorates. This was evidenced by the 2010 tragic crash of a private aircraft in Algonquin Provincial Park. The aircraft was enroute to Sudbury from Kingston, at night, in deteriorating weather when it crashed. Four lives were lost. Our airport, with the appropriate facilities and lighting could have been their “port-in-the-storm”.

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Who else could use our airport?? Medevac flights to take sick and injured members of the community to distant hospitals. The airport was used as a staging area for the emergency response to the incident in Algonquin Provincial Park mentioned in the previous slide.

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Who else could use our airport?? MNR forest fire-fighting aircraft can operate from and perhaps be based at the airport when they are needed. For the reasons outlined above, community airport facilities are defined as a major resource by the policy doctrine of Emergency Management Ontario (EMO).

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Who else could use our airport?? Courier operations – for moving mail and packages into and out of the communities, including banking support services.

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Who else could use our airport?? Aircraft bringing business and commerce leaders into the community.

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Who else could use our airport?? Aircraft bringing tourists and visitors to the community to spend their money. They will visit the local sights, stay in local hotels, eat in local restaurants and thereby greatly contribute to the local tax base through those businesses.

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Who else could use our airport?? Charter operations to carry people and goods in and out of the community. THE LIST IS ENDLESS!!!!!!!

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Vision In order to grow and become a regional economic engine, the airport needs to accomplish the following: establish a new airport governance and management structure to foster airport self sufficiency improve on current facilities and create new ones attract a broader base of users by joining industry associations such as AMCO and Chamber of Commerce develop opportunities for businesses to co-locate at the airport create much needed sustainable employment

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Immediate Plans Improving current facilities leverage the Master Airport Development Plan to obtain federal and provincial infrastructure dollars to pave the runway and apron (to meet modern airport standards) dovetail with green energy industry for the installation of low operational cost runway lighting, effectively doubling available runway usage (currently daylight hours only) purchase and installation of “card lock” system for the fuel facility, allowing self-serve access 24-7 investigate options for high-speed internet access, required for modern flight planning facilities and marketability of business development

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Immediate Plans New opportunities to explore and follow through with an aircraft maintenance facility – there is strong interest currently being shown from two companies looking to locate here, pending development direction a current letter of intent by a “green economy” industry to lease land and build a facility at the airport current letter of intent for a permanent flight school and First Nations training facility to be located on site redevelopment and expansion of float plane operations Pursue the handover of surrounding land controlled by MNR creating room for future development

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Immediate Plans Attract a broader base of users marketing campaign (print, web, trade magazines) partner with local Bed & Breakfast Association to promote airport’s role in Almaguin area tourism (already started with links on new airport website) attract users through “flight events” throughout the year in partnership with COPA, Almaguin Flying Club, UPAC make the airport “business aviation friendly” via discounted fuel pricing, pilot / crew facilities draw non-traditional users to the airport by making it a place to take the kids and see what’s going on – viewing area, aviation themed restaurant/cafe

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Long Range Opportunities creation of sustainable employment aviation manufacturing facility (airframe completions, modifications, parts production) links to local school board to establish aviation based course curriculum where classrooms are located at the airport (this could include technical/shop courses, marketing, small business studies – the options are endless!!) Establishment of a permanent aviation trade school Become a top airshow destination – huge tourism draw

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Important Points to Remember an airport is much more than just a place for planes to land and take off with the four-laning of Highway 11 now complete, this region is even more open to prime investment brand new airports are too expensive to build – we are in a great position…. we already have one!! the airport is a valuable resource we can’t afford to lose planned improvements will create sustainable employment now and in the future More importantly……..

34 A mile of highway takes you a mile...
...a mile of runway takes you to the world!! - Canadian Owners and Pilots Association

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