City reviews airport runway upgrade options


If Elliot Lake City Council approves, the city will enter into an agreement with the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry for $1,545,000 in funding from the provincial government to pay for the resurfacing. from the runway at Elliot Lake Airport.

The agreement under the Northern Ontario Resource Development Support Fund (NORDS) is for $1,399,790. That would leave it up to the city to make up the $145,209 shortfall in its facilities reserve.

In his report to Monday’s virtual Elliot Lake City Council meeting, Director of Economic Development Steve Antunes wrote, “In November 2021, the Ontario government committed to providing funding to municipalities to support critical infrastructure in small rural and northern communities. The funding allocated to Elliot Lake is $279,958.21 per year for 5 years, totaling $1,399,791. »

The money can be spent anytime between 2021 and March 2025, or rolled over to a later date.

Antunes said the local project that best matches the funding is the resurfacing of the Elliot Lake airport runway.

The last resurfacing work on the airport runway dates back to 1994. Since then, time and weather have taken their toll on the landing surface, which is now littered with numerous potholes.

If the council approves it, the works will have to take place in 2023. Temporary repairs could also take place this year.

Elliot Lake unsuccessfully applied for a Fednor grant to complete the same project in 2021.

Meanwhile, Elliot Lake general manager Daniel Gagnon is recommending that council cancel the North Shore Classic drag race at the airport for a third year.

The popular event was canceled in July 2020 and 2021, primarily due to COVID-19 protocols.

He indicated that the proposed dates for this year are July 15-17 and that it will be important to save the date now or cancel for the race coordinator, promoters, racing community, spectators and local businesses.

Gagnon wrote that at this time of a typical year, City staff and volunteers would be in the process of securing sponsorships.

He also pointed out that the city’s current staffing shortages would be a hindrance if council decided the event could take place in July.

“There are two key positions to be filled in the recreation and culture and economic development departments,” added Mr. Gagnon.

“If the event is to be held in 2022 and beyond, staff believe it is important to work with North Shore Cruisers and other stakeholders to revise the budget to limit the net cost to the ratepayer.

“Options include: Directing staff to host the event for strategic/economic development purposes or at a minimum ‘save the date’ now, and aggressively pursuing options to host the event in 2022; canceling the event now ( or soon) – staff recommended; Defer decision at this time – not recommended,” concluded Gagnon.

Approximately $17,000 was budgeted for event net loss in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The actual net loss in those years was approximately $43,000.

Monday night’s council meeting where these airport-related issues will be considered will be livestreamed on the city’s website at 7 p.m.


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