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Peace River residents endorse airport ownership change

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Peace River residents have overwhelmingly voted in favour of having an independent non-profit organization take control of owning and operating the Peace River Airport.

Out of 163 total votes, 82 per cent of ballots cast in a non-binding referendum Wednesday were in favour of the turnover of ownership and operation. That’s as long as a commitment to preserving current services such as Air Ambulance and Forestry services remains.

Prior to the non-binding referendum vote, Peace River Councillor Byron Schamehorn told mygrandeprairienow.com the town has maintained and financed the airport since 1996, and it continues to take up a lot of staff time to operate.

“It hasn’t been easy to run, and it takes a lot of administrative time to run… it takes as much administrative time to run the airport as it does to run the rest of the whole entire town most of the time it seems,” he said.

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The decision to hold the non-binding referendum came about after Peace River town council sent out a request for proposals for companies or private entities to present plans on how they would operate the facility. As responses filed in and as councillors got further into the process, the idea was brought forward to gauge public opinion on the matter.

It has not yet been determined as to how council plans to move forward with the results of the vote. The municipality currently pays around $740,000 annually for upkeep and maintenance at the airport.

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