By ROY WOOD
Members of Osoyoos council will get a chance to indicate their views on the future of the local airstrip as the society driving airport expansion comes looking for money from the town.
The Osoyoos Airport Development Society will ask at Tuesday’s regular council meeting for a $15,000 contribution toward a “runway extension and apron/taxiway improvement project.”
According to a letter to the town from society president Glen Harris, the group has received provincial grant approval for $90,000 covering three-quarters of the $120,000 cost of the project.
The remainder is required to be paid by “stakeholders,” including the town. The society will also approach others, including the regional district, Destination Osoyoos and the Osoyoos Indian Band.
A report to council from town finance director Jim Zakall recommends that council approve the grant and that the funds be drawn from cash reserves, rather than a tax increase of just over half a percent in 2019 and 2020.
Harris says in his letter to the town that the society plans to make another grant request to the province and will likely be back again next year looking for another $15,000 to $20,000 to fund further capital projects.
Meanwhile, Harris says the society will be in discussions with the town and others “over the next couple of months … to develop a formal governance model for the airport.”
The society told council last summer that a consultant’s report indicated two possible governance structures:
- A society model, which would see members of a society, with aviation skills and interests, organize and run the airport through a lease agreement with the town; or
- An advisory board model, under which the town would be responsible, likely through an airport manager that it would hire. The board would advise, but the town would run the airport.
A draft of the consultant’s report on the medium- and long-term plans for the airport is available at