By Jean-Pierre Bonin
July 25th, 2008
In 1973 the Quebec government agreed to give CSK3 airport to the City of Mascouche as long as it was reserved for municipal usage as an airport.
Although the airport is managed by a non-profit association of users since 2002 and is self-financing, the city sold the airport to a private enterprise in 2004 and used the $1.8M sale amount to balance the 2003 budget (a short term view to pay yesterday's grocery with a valuable long term asset), but this had to be approved by the Quebec government before June 21, 2005. Since it was not approved, the private enterprise gave back the lot to the City of Mascouche. This resulted in a deficit in its proposed budget.
To this day, the city has presented its case to the court hoping to have the Quebec government ruling overturned. Recently, the City of Mascouche hired a second law firm to try and accelerate the procedures and sell the airport before the 2009 elections.
Meantime, it literally ignores the airport as an economic asset (e.g. no mention of it on the City’s website) and there is a persistent rumour of airport closing by 2011.
This rumour kept going by the municipal administration creates difficulties for the airport users and on site companies such as obtaining a bank loan or cancellation of projects.
On June 30, COPA was on hand to help out. Michel Moreau COPA director for Quebec was one of the invited speakers for a news conference in support of the Mascouche Airport. Moreau mentioned other municipalities who had the same unfortunate idea and economic studies demonstrating the economic impacts of the airport had them change their minds.
He invited the administrators of the airport to document economical impacts for their airport and the surrounding region.
Among the guest speakers, Jean-Daniel Cossette, owner of Point du Jour Aviation as well as Gilles Pinard, director of Quebec Aviators and Bush Pilot Association (APBQ) underlined the economic benefits of the dynamic enterprises located at CSK3:
- Five pilot training schools approved by Transport Canada;
- 125 aircraft based at Mascouche on an annual basis;
- 50,000 annual aircrafts movements;
- Three companies TC approved for overhaul and maintenance as well as one for instrumentation and avionics calibration;
- A business community employing professional pilots, flight dispatchers, mechanics, managers, office and support staff. One hundred jobs plus twice as much in indirect jobs in the surroundings.
Gaston Lepage, honorary President of APBQ invited the attendance to read COPA’s leaflet about Local Airports.
Serge Hamelin (Horizon Mascouche) candidate for Mayor’s office and Guillaume Tremblay, independent municipal counsellor gave their support to the Mascouche airport survival and future development.
Among the 60 persons in the audience, were two federal MPs, Raymond Gravel and Roger Gaudet, as well as Frank Hofmann COPA Eastern Vice-Chair, Quebec Director.