Funding pulled for airport fuel depot; Cash going to YAC

In this Mar. 30, 2015, file photo, Coun. Brock Frost, left, makes a point about pulling funding for an airport fuel project to fund Your Arts Council during a special budget meeting. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Cornwall’s portion of an airport fuel project slated to be constructed this year has been pulled in order to fund Your Arts Council.

City Coun. Brock Frost put forward the successful motion to pull funding for the Cornwall Regional Airport jet fuel project to fund the arts.

The project for a $115,000 fuel depot for the Summerstown airport would have it supply so-called “Jet A” fuel, a highly refined kerosene-type fuel with some additives, used in jets, turboprop aircraft and most helicopters.

The bulk of the city’s money for the project – $97,000 – will be going back into reserves while the balance will be used to top up YAC’s funding to $35,000.

“I would rather see Cornwall money being spent in Cornwall for Cornwall things….spending on an agency outside the city….is completely ridiculous,” Frost said.

Coun. Elaine MacDonald questioned what the impact would be to the Cornwall Regional Airport. “There’s obviously going to be a hit to the airport here,” she said. “I’m not persuaded that this is a good thing. We have lost rail transportation in this city. We have lost bus service in the city,” MacDonald said.

Coun. David Murphy suggested this would kick start discussions on the airport funding agreement which is currently an 85-15 split between the city and South Glengarry, with a $10,000 cap for the township. The city’s share of the airport budget is $123,800.

Coun. Justin Towndale, who sits on the airport commission, says it’s a project that can be postponed but “in this case there are some good causes that can be support instead.”

Coun. Claude McIntosh questioned why the two groups – YAC and Lift-Off – are getting preferential treatment when other outside agencies didn’t get any funding and some also got partial funding. “Amazing…a few weeks ago we approved a cap and then, a few phone calls and a few emails, and here we are,” he said.

“With the airport, all we are doing is robbing Peter to pay Paul – I voted to set a cap…we simply ran out of money,” McIntosh said.

“I don’t like this shell game that we play,” Coun. Bernadette Clement said, “If we’re unhappy with the split we should sit down and talk instead of using a budget process…to damage relationships.” Clement questioned what message the city is sending to the arts community when they cut funding to The Art Gallery but are looking at supplementing YAC.

But Couns. Carilyne Hebert and Andre Rivette had suggested Your Arts Council should be funded the full $35,000.

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