Many questions and comments have arisen in the past few weeks related to the Beiseker Council’s decision to offer the sale of the Beiseker Airport. We would like to provide you with some information relating to the history and reasonings for this decision.
The Council of the Village of Beiseker approved a decision in April, 2020 to proceed with the offering of the sale of the Beiseker Airport.
The Beiseker Airport was established in 1984 and for a period of time was owned by a number of local municipalities. In 2010, the Province of Alberta turned ownership of the airport to the Village of Beiseker as it’s sole owner and provided approximately $1,000,000.00 in funding to resurface the runway. The airport land is therefore owned by the Village, but it is located in the jurisdiction of Rocky View County. Therefore, all development at the facility is approved and regulated by the County, not the village. Currently the County provides the Village with the property taxes imposed on the land, but these funds do not cover the cost of running the airport and generally, the revenue from the airport only supersedes the expenses by about $7,000 per year.
The concept of selling the airport has been addressed by Council as far back as 2019. Considerations were made regarding the cost of the airport and the eventual cost of resurfacing and repairing the taxiways and runway. An engineering study has concluded that the lifetime of the current runway and taxiways is approximately 18 years. The Council of Beiseker is not prepared to have the cost of the repair of these roadways become the responsibility of the taxpayers of the village. Although we have been told that the provincial government is being lobbied to look after these costs, there are no guarantees. Given the current status of the provincial deficit, Council feels it would not be prudent to rely on this funding. If the roadways at the airport cannot be properly maintained, the airport would become redundant.
Before the Village was able to proceed with the sale, we were required to obtain permission from the Minister of Transportation. This was first requested in April, 2020 and an approval was received in September, 2021.
The Village of Beiseker does not experience much if any economic advantage such as airport lessees residing in the Village and/or commercial activity from the airport. Having said that, if people using the airport do come into town for food, entertainment or lodging, they will do so whether the airport is owned by the Village or a private owner.
The staff of the Village are not trained, nor skilled at properly running an airport. Whether ownership is assumed by the current lessees, or a private party, it is likely that the new owners will be more invested in ensuring the proper operation and future for this facility.
The airport will likely not change usage as a result of the sale. The leases that are currently signed will be transferred to the new owner as a result of the sale.
The sale of the airport will be advertised sometime in November, 2021. A sales agreement has been approved and the price of $1.3 million has been set by Council which is in alignment with the current property assessment provided by Rocky View County. By order of the Minister of Transportation, the Village will be required to spend or hold this money for current and future road/transportation needs. Given the status of some of the roads in the village and the constant requirement for repairs, this money would go a long way towards ensuring we are keeping our roads safe and well-maintained.
Village of Beiseker Council