Cornwall makes diplomatic push to meet South Glengarry over airport funding

(Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – Cornwall did not nip its funding in the bud for 2016 for the Summerstown Airport but it’s pushing for a meeting as soon as possible for a new funding deal with South Glengarry.

“It’s not that we have anything against the airport,” David Murphy said in putting the motion on the table. “I just think we should kick start those negotiations,” Murphy said. “South Glengarry is well aware of this. It’s frustrating because they know we want to discuss this…they are not banging on our door.”

“I think going about it this way – laying down an ultimatum – I don’t that’s conducive of negotiations,” Coun. Elaine MacDonald said.

“This is going on for three to four years – it’s time to step up and be counted,” Coun. Andre Rivette said. “We have got to send a message that we have got to sit down and speak.”

“It’s not a threat…it’s about the taxpayers dollars in Cornwall. At 92 per cent of the cost of the operation of the facility, enough is enough. It’s not a threat,” Rivette stated.

But Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy suggested the wording of the motion is a threat. “It’s the City of Cornwall that wanted the airport. It’s the City of Cornwall that signed this funding agreement. Don’t say it’s not threatening…because it is threatening.”

Coun. Claude McIntosh says the wording should be fixed because “what if they call our bluff” on the wording. “I think it might be a bad message…the wrong message.”

“It’s time we look for a new deal, I’m concerned about how we go about it,” Coun. Justin Towndale said, suggesting the airport will be more valuable down the road when a proposed university-style course-set at Nav Center gets in place.

CAO Norm Levac suggests there have been suggestions in the past to look at the funding. The language of the 1985 agreement has been addressed but has been no formal motions to look at funding.

Here’s how the councillors voted whether to withhold funding in 2016 for the Cornwall Regional Airport subject to a new deal with South Glengarry:

In the end, in a recorded vote, Coun. Andre Rivette was the only councillor to vote for the motion.

Coun. Brock Frost tabled an amendment shortly after to have the CAO send a letter to South Glengarry, requesting a meeting as soon as possible.

Couns. Mark MacDonald and Elaine MacDonald were the only ones to vote against sending the letter.

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