Cornwall-South Glengarry airport deal under third party review

In this Feb. 27, 2015, file photo, Cornwall Regional Airport Commission Chairman Frank Prevost and South Glengarry Infrastructure General Manager Ewen MacDonald make a presentation to the Cornwall budget committee. Cornwall and South Glengarry are having a third party review of their 32-year-old airport agreement. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL/SOUTH GLENGARRY – The city’s chief administrative officer has clarified that its law firm and not a consultant doing a third party review of the Cornwall-Charlottenburgh Municipal Airport Agreement.

Both stakeholders in the 32-year-old Cornwall Regional Airport contract – the City of Cornwall and the Township of South Glengarry – have been meeting to come up with a new operating agreement which could also address the funding arrangement.

Under the present deal, Cornwall pays 85 per cent of the costs ($123,800 in 2015) for the facility on Airport Road while South Glengarry had been paying 15 per cent to a cap of $10,000.

Cornwall argued the agreement was unfair because the share it was paying was more like 92 per cent because of the cap. South Glengarry removed the $10,000 ceiling on Sept. 14, 2015 as a sign of good faith bargaining.

South Glengarry Mayor Ian McLeod told Cornwall Newswatch on Monday a city-hired consultant is reviewing the current deal. “This is a party that the city is already working with on some other work…they extended the terms of reference basically…and will come back with a report to council,” McLeod said.

In fact, it’s not a consultant but the city’s law firm, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP of Ottawa, that is doing the review, said Cornwall CAO Norm Levac in an interview Friday.

“The agreement has been going on for a long time. We certainly have been talking with the township recently and there’s work in progress that will likely be advanced in the near future,” Levac told Cornwall Newswatch.

“There will be more activity pertaining to the airport in the near future…so, yes, there are some things moving forward but they’re not quite there yet,” he said.

Levac indicated that South Glengarry has agreed to foot part of the bill for the law firm’s work but the cost to do the review “is not much.”

South Glengarry Mayor Ian McLeod said the agreements would be looked at to make sure they’re up to date for current legislation.

“Some things that made sense 30 years ago don’t make sense today,” the mayor said.

“He’s going to give us a report, there’s how you should structure this thing (agreement),” McLeod said.

The law firm’s report is expected within the next two months.