The Small Airports agenda which includes Airport funding will be represented by the Rural Airports Committee of the Manitoba Aviation Council (MAC). Here's the text of a letter sent to interested parties:
Manitoba Rural Airports Committee
The round of meetings held earlier this year discussing rural public use airport funding resulted in a clear mandate to form an association to deal with that and other rural airport issues. An agreement with the Manitoba Aviation Council (MAC) has been worked out to do so. The vision of MAC is to"promote, facilitate and protect the development of all facets of aviation within the province of Manitoba"
the direction established by the meetings fits within this vision.
The Rural Airports Committee will be a Sub Committee of the existing MAC Airport Committee. Dennis Schoonbaert will be nominated as a MAC Director at the Annual Meeting on April 26, 2011 and will act as Chair of the Committee. The Rural Airport Committee will develop its own agenda and strategies within the existing MAC agenda as set out in the By Laws and Strategic Plan. The direction of the Committee will be guided by the RPUA Funding Report compiled from the meetings held with rural airports, at least until other data is available. Communication with government, government agencies, or other organizations will be facilitated through the MAC President to ensure a consistent message.
Funds for the operation of the Rural Airports Committee will be raised by new memberships in MAC with the applicant specifying the Rural Airports Committee. MAC will retain a percentage of the membership fees to cover administrative costs. MAC Associate Memberships at $183.75 (tax included) will be the most likely membership for Rural Airports Committee participants. Simply write Rural Airports Committee in the Area of interest space on the MAC membership application which is attached, or included, or can be downloaded at http://manitobaaviationcoucil.ca. Note that the membership application does NOT have the correct membership fees – its $183.75. Flying clubs, airport authorities, municipal governments, ..., any group associated with rural airports is welcome to join.
An executive of six people is planned, three have already stepped forward. Dennis Schoonbaert whose base is the Shoal Lake Regional Airport – www.slflyingclub.com, Dave Walker from the Erickson Airport, and Ken Chornopysky who owns Av Ranch, an Air Park east of Winnipeg – www.av-ranch.com. In order to have an executive with as much rural airport experience as possible it would be good to have someone from a public use grass runway airport, another from a ‘busier’ paved airport, hopefully with representation from across the province. Please indicate your interest in serving by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I believe this is a great opportunity to strengthen aviation in rural Manitoba at the same time that it is an opportunity for MAC to increase its membership and move toward their vision. There are many opportunities for the Rural Airports Committee beyond those identified in the RPUA Funding Report.
Airports are a very important part of the infrastructure in rural Manitoba although they are not always recognized as such. They serve many important purposes – aerial agricultural application, tourism, business travel, government travel, supporting industries (like the oil industry), air ambulance service, emergency access (for example, for floods or fires), recreation, .... As the attached document, Southern Manitoba Airports, shows, public airports provide these services to virtually every area of southern Manitoba. The areas served by public, non-federally funded airports are shown. There are also many private aerodromes (Lyncrest, St Francois Xavier and Starbuck have been somewhat arbitrarily included); they are also an important part of the airport network.
There is a small amount of annual funding available for maintenance of public airports through the Manitoba Airport Assistance Program, $1200 for grass strips and $2400 for paved strips,. The intent of the MAAP (click here to learn more) appears to have been to encourage the development of low cost airports; as aviation has become more important to the continued development of our communities it is increasingly clear that the amount is insufficient. Much of the airport infrastructure, some of it acquired at no cost to the province, is in danger of being lost without a source of provincial funding for major improvements or runway renovation. Our sister provinces, Saskatchewan and Alberta, have such programs as did Manitoba with MACAP from the late 1990’s until its cancellation in 2004.
There are several things that can be done:
1. Explore the programs in Saskatchewan and Alberta to see what is applicable to Manitoba,
+ Here's the 2012 Saskatchewan CAP Guidelines.
+ The fact sheet with the 2010 CAP project information is here.
+ Click here for a map showing all the CAP projects.
+ Read a couple of articles - Wings article is here and an article from the Western Producer is here.
+ COPA Flight 4/EAA Chapter 154 Newsletters show how CAP is affecting the Moose Jaw Airport. Read this one first, then this.
2. Develop the beginnings of a proposal for a Manitoba program,
3. Mobilize local governments to provide a common voice for a Manitoba program possibly through the AMM, and
4. Form an association of rural southern Manitoba aviation communities/airports possibly through the Manitoba Aviation Council.
Two meetings are being held to begin this process. Representatives from flying clubs, airport authorities, local governments, the provincial government, and political parties are invited. The first meeting will be held in Shoal Lake at the Community Hall on Wednesday, February 16 from 10:00 am to 12:00 am with lunch to follow. The second will be held at St. Andrews Airport at Harv’s Air on Thursday, February 17 from 7:00pm to 9:00 pm. We are hoping that having one meeting in the west and one in the east will make it more feasible for people to attend. The meeting sponsors are the Shoal Lake Airport Authority/Shoal Lake Flying Club/COPA Flight 162 (this is part of our process of Planning for the Next 20 Years at our airport) and the Manitoba th the Aviation Council.
Weather limited attendance at the St. Andrews meeting so a third meeting was held at St. Andrews on Monday, March 7. A report has been prepared that summarizes both the information presented at the meetings and the discussion results, it can be accessed here. Please share this with your local aviation community including local governments.