City looks to terminate Cornwall Regional Airport agreement

In this August 2018, file photo, a plane takes off from the runway at the Cornwall Regional Airport near Summerstown, Ont. behind the Jet A fuel tank. The City of Cornwall is looking to end its operating agreement with South Glengarry after 37 years. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL/SUMMERSTOWN – The City of Cornwall is looking to get out of the airport business.

City council will debate a resolution tomorrow night (Tuesday) to sever its 37-year partnership with South Glengarry on operating the airport, north of Summerstown.

A resolution from CAO Maureen Adams states that “despite considerable effort and expense,” the airport is still mostly for recreational flying with “little commercial activity” and that local taxpayers get very little economic benefit from it.

Under the current agreement, the City of Cornwall pays 85 per cent while the Township of South Glengarry pays 15 per cent. There had been a cap of $10,000 on South Glengarry’s share until it was removed by the township as a sign of good faith in trying to build a long term plan.

This year’s budget for the city portion was supposed to be $103,049 but a submission of $130,526 was “inadvertently missed” during the budget process and then came to council in June, which ruffled the feathers of some elected officials. Council did not send more money.

Both councils also heard a multi-phase, 40-year dynamic plan from a consultant this summer on developing the airport.

How the airport, which is currently operated by the Cornwall Regional Airport Commission and a six-member board of directors, would continue to function without the City of Cornwall’s share is not exactly clear.

A presentation to South Glengarry council is May indicates that the operations side is covered by fuel sales and revenue from leasing hangers on the property. But CAO Tim Mills’ presentation said the “effectiveness and return on investment of the current business model is not sustainable or efficient.”

The airport was privately owned when Cornwall Aviation opened it in 1973 before it was bought by the City of Cornwall and then-Charlottenburgh Township, now South Glengarry, in 1984.

Thumbs Up(29)Thumbs Down(19)