Town debate over whether or not to take over airport continues
East of Elk Point is a long, straight airstrip in a clear, flat location. It’s easily accessible by ground or by air. Owned by the province, it is co-managed by the County of St. Paul and the Town of Elk Point under a lease agreement. At the moment, its use is restricted to day flying. It needs lighting. Lighting and electrical would cost well over $1 million, and the province is motivated to sell the airstrip to the town, but Deputy Mayor of Elk Point, Lorne Young says, “We’re not prepared to take on ownership of it with that kind of a liability.”
A fully functioning airstrip would provide Elk Point with immediate air access for medical emergencies. It would also offer convenience for commercial development, and may even open potential for industry. The town website advertises, “We are actively pursuing companies or individuals to start a flight training school or aircraft repair location.” (http://www.elkpoint.ca/100/businesses/11652)
An Airport Commission has been formed, and Elk Point and the County of St Paul will work together in applying for grants. The commission is also approaching local service clubs that have grant access, and local industries that could provide letters of support.
Although it’s hard to prove that the airstrip will be used more until the facility is upgraded, Young says “There are people doing an awful lot of work to make this work. The federal government will decommission the airstrip if it’s not used, and if it’s gone, it’s gone for good. We’re trying to do everything we can to keep it operational.”