Airport considers celebrating with Snowbirds
By Sue Tiffin
Published Nov. 9, 2017
A plan to bring the Snowbirds for a flyover celebrating the Stanhope Airport’s 50th anniversary might not fly. Council discussed the airport committee’s suggestion that the iconic Snowbirds perform a flight demonstration over the airport in July 2018 at an event and open house that could also include displays of historic and military aircraft but the cost to bring them here, as well as the lack of time left for planning might debilitate the idea.
Deputy-Mayor Liz Danielsen noted the the flyover could cost as much as $10,000 due to the need for housing and vehicle rental for the team.
But the Snowbirds wouldn’t land at the Stanhope airport due to the size of the runway, which means they’d be based at an airport in Muskoka or Trenton, according to Cam Loucks, airport manager.
“It’d be an overhead show, there’d be no static display per se,” he said. That would mean the airport couldn’t recoup any of the costs of the show through fueling the aircraft, because they couldn’t land. He said that if the Snowbirds came from Trenton, their home base, cost of lodging would be drastically reduced, and that smoke oil required for the demonstration could likely be obtained at cost.
Loucks said a similar event in the Hanover area resulted in 23,000 guests visiting to take it in.
“In trying to keep our eye on the financial prize, what I was thinking was, what do we get out of it as a municipality?” said Mayor Carol Moffatt. “It’s nice to entertain 20,000 people but if we’re not getting anything back from it, it’s just a free show on the backs of Algonquin Highlands taxpayers and I struggle with that. We have trouble paving roads and buying fire trucks, I don’t see how we have upwards of $10,000 for an air show.”
Loucks noted that there are other more affordable options for airshows, and also that they could be obtained more easily in the time crunch. Councillor Marlene Kyle expressed concern that the event was not further along in planning. She said at previous committee meetings, the event had come up, as well as the need to plan in advance.
“I’m quite concerned that this is November and we’re talking for something for the summer of July 2018,” she said. “I think you may have missed the boat on a lot of this because most of these people will already be booked...Unless we have a whole event planned, it’s going to fail. And that would be terrible for our airport, to try to celebrate an anniversary and not being able to pull off a grand party.”
She said the event with the Snowbirds could be considered a plus for economic development because of the number of people who would come to the show.
Council supported a 50th anniversary celebration but needed to know more from the committee organizing the event about budget implications and potential activities and events.
Fire station bathroom
Fire chief Mike Cavanaugh updated council on what Moffatt called “the world’s most expensive bathroom renovation.”
To date, mould testing, furnace relocation, design, cost estimate and quotes for demolition and mould remediation have been completed in the project of renovating the bathroom in Station 80. The estimated cost of the project is $53,000.
“If there is a silver lining to this project, it’s falling correctly with our budget planning cycles, so we’ll hopefully have a tender out and the results back prior to our first draft of our budget, so it’ll be incorporated with our 2018 budget,” said fire chief Mike Cavanaugh. “So there’s a silver lining.”
The mould remediation and demolition quotes for the project varied from $6,077 to $10,371, and Cavanaugh recommended approving the quote from Superior Restoration, which was $6,077.
The County Accessibility Committee has reviewed and approved the design of the bathroom.
“This is not a fancy overpriced bathroom for firefighters, it’s a construction project, mould remediation, compliant with accessibility requirements under the building code and that’s where the costs are,” Moffatt later told the Times.