Re-purposing the Airport boosts Economic Development opportunity

The vision

New economic development opportunities project being undertaken by the Town could bring major changes to Fox Creek, enhance its Highway 43 presence and generate revenue.

The runway adjacent to Highway 43 represents primary real estate and is the perfect location for future development enabling a variety of commercial opportunities, restaurants, gas stations …

Council believes that the closure of the airport will assist in the growth of Fox Creek – provide premium location for the business expressing desire to locate here and entice those we’d like to attract. This development will also result in a larger tax base to help make our community more sustainable.

The airstrip property is the same length as gasoline alley in Red Deer. The Town believes that developing a similar amenity will accommodate the large trucks, will aid our community in the enhancement of our appearance by cleaning up highway avenue, and help us get a better handle on the damage that the large trucks are currently doing to our roads.

Decision History

Stakeholders Consultations
The Town has hosted two open house / public consultations regarding the potential closure of the airport.

Alberta Health Services, STARS, local stakeholders, Alberta Transportation and industry have also been consulted.

Fiscal due-diligence
In 2016, an estimate to resurface the airport was sought.
Quote 1 – resurface with asphalt $5-8 million with a 5 year life expectancy.
Quote 2 – base repair, of the worst sections, $10-14 million with a life expectancy of 10 years.

In 2016, the Town received $0.00 from the self-reported landing fees.

Patient Transport

In 2016/2017 there were 8 fixed wing transports – keep in mind these were not all life threatening some could have just been a more convenient way to transport someone to the city, etc.
In 2003 there were 10 fixed wing transports.

From liability to asset

In 2015  Town Office received reports that jets were picking up debris from our runway during landing and takeoff,  thus deeming it unsafe for the reporting companies to use.

STARS, and Alberta Health Services, has advised the Town that they will not conduct fixed wing operation into our airport from October to May for several reasons including the length of the runway and the lack of anti-icing abilities, this is also due largely to inversions in the winter months.

The Town does not currently have the means to apply Urea for ice-melting purposes on the runway.

With no repairs being done to the strip (at the huge risk of liability) it costs the Town approximately $200,000 to maintain the operations of the strip / year.

Conditions- going forward

We will NOT close the airport until a helipad is constructed and fully operational – accommodating both STARS and AHS helicopters

The new helipad will be located near the hospital – accommodating both patients and doctors much better. Patients will no longer have to switch stretchers outdoors at the airport location to board the STARS helicopter