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Canadian Airport Offers Vignette Into Difficulties of Airport Operation

Brockton Councillors Vote to Sell Saugeen Municipal to Private Interests

A small-town airport in Canada will soon be up for grabs, after the local council voted to sell off the Saugeen Municipal Airport.

A Canadian Owners and Pilots Association report shined a light on the tough life of a small town airport, quoting the council's studies that show each year, despite some activity and business, the taxpayers subsidize Saugeen to the tune of about $15,00 CAD.

Saugeen consists of about 254 acres, with 56 used for hay farming, which gives it an MPAC value of $3.5 million CAD. With local airports sold off at a rapid pace in recent years, it's understandable why the council wants to wash their hands of the airport game.

"The past few years have been challenging for the airport," acknowledges COPA. They quote recent reports from Brockton, showing the overall financial standing “The 2023 budget projected revenue of $60,000, although only $19,856 has been raised up to Oct. 31, 2023. Another $19,000 has been committed for 2024. The SMA has underspent on property development, runway and grounds maintenance and some wages… It should be noted, however, that the SMA owes Brockton $36,178.63 for the tractor and $54,649.36 to Meridian Credit Union for the hangar construction… The Municipality of Brockton received $50,388.51 in tax revenue from the Saugeen Municipal Airport property and the surrounding hangar properties in 2023."

"There were significant unbudgeted legal expenses and upgrades to the fuel system that resulted in a deficit at the end of 2022. As the SMA has operated on a very lean budget with no reserve funds for many years, it was difficult to overcome these unbudgeted expenses. While the runway and main hangar building appear to be in good shape, the SMA does not currently have a long-term asset management or capital replacement plan, and no reserves set aside for upgrades that may be needed.”

FMI: www.copanational.org

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