TSBP Hides Proposal To Give Away Our Interest In The Wiarton Keppel Airport
It was hard to tell from item 5.2 in the May 15 Council Agenda, titled “Public Meeting Notice-Restructuring, Georgian Bluffs and South Bruce Peninsula”, but the proposal is not really about “restructuring” at all. The item was about a proposal to give away our share of the Wiarton Keppel airport.
The one page report include in the agenda package indicated only one clue:
“The Town of South Bruce Peninsula has also consented to the transfer of their 50% ownership in the Wiarton-Keppel International Airport to the Township of Georgian Bluffs”.
This proposal is unacceptable, and is not in the interests of the people of TSBP.
I have two concerns.
One is that the giveaway of half of the airport to Georgian Bluffs is a bad deal. The second is that the bad deal is being hidden as “restructuring”.
A BAD DEAL
The airport straddles the border between Georgian Bluffs and TSBP. The airport was owned by the Canadian Government until 1996, at which time it was given to TSBP and Georgian Bluffs on a 50/50 ownership basis. It has been managed ever since by a joint board. The airport has always run deficits, last year at about $150,000. The deficit is covered by taxpayers, 50% by TSBP and 50% by Georgian Bluffs.
I understand that the airport was appraised at $2,000,000 in about 2008. See
In 2010 there was a buyer interested, but apparently Georgian Bluffs refused to consider selling.
A special task force of TSBP council members and Georgian Bluffs council members and staff of both towns have been discussing, mostly in closed session, what to do with the airport.
What they appear to have consented to is a very good deal for the people of Georgian Bluffs, but a very bad deal for the people of TSBP.
Here’s the proposed deal. Georgian Bluffs gets our share of the airport, and gets their town boundary redrawn to include the whole airport. In return the people of TSBP get no cash, no assets, no property, nothing tangible, nothing of value.
What we get is to redraw the TSBP boundaries to include a little strip of land along highway 6 that is currently within the town of Georgian bluffs. We don’t get ownership of that land. What we get is worthless.
Georgian Bluffs gets to own our share of the airport, and we get to own nothing in return.
It’s a bad deal. It’s the same as giving away our share of the airport.
BAD DEAL / HIDDEN DEAL
TSBP council is trying to hide the bad deal. Why else would they discuss a million dollar policy decision completely and unnecessarily in closed session and then hide it with a title “restructuring proposal” and then falsely portray it as a few minor boundary line adjustments?
There will be two public sessions to gather public comments.
Wednesday May 23rd, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. AT Wiarton & District Community
Centre and Arena, 526 Taylor St. Wiarton
Wednesday May 30th, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. AT Shallow Lake & District
Community Centre 550 Princes St. Shallow Lake
Come out and tell TSBP council not to give away our million dollar share in the airport.
And /or send a written submission to:
Town of South Bruce Peninsula
315 George Street, PO Box 310