Maple Ridge wants to be part of airport’s future

Both cities want to talk about more about Pitt Meadows Regional Airport

Maple RIdge and Pitt Meadows jointly own Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.

Maple RIdge and Pitt Meadows jointly own Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.

Maple Ridge has no plans to walk away from the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport and leave the economic generator entirely to Pitt Meadows.

“There seems to be an appetite in Pitt Meadows to take over the airport and there’s no appetite for that in Maple Ridge,” Mayor Nicole Read said last week.

“Now that we’ve sort of asserted our interest in the airport, we see the airport forming part of our economic development going forward.”

Both councils discussed the facility at a joint meeting last week.

After the federal government got out of running airports in the w, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows took on joint ownership in 1997 by becoming equal members of the Pitt Meadows Airport Society.

But a Maple Ridge staff report says that ownership has had lots of discussion and that Pitt Meadows has frequently suggested that Maple Ridge abandon its ownership.

The report said the question of ownership has impeded the airport’s planning ability to report regularly to its members.

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker, though, welcomed Maple Ridge’s renewal of interest.

“As far as I’m concerned, that’s great. It’s a regional economic generator.”

He said it was important that both councils have the same information on the airport.

Read said Maple Ridge will have a workshop with Pitt Meadows to review how the airport works.

Pitt Meadows Coun. Bruce Bell doesn’t see the airport as a problem between the two cities.

He’d like both cities to create a business plan for the airport. But any major expansion of the airport needs to be done in consultation with the community, he said.

“The airport needs to be a good neighbour.”

Bell pointed out that Pitt Meadows has given tax breaks to the airport, because it lies within its borders, but Maple Ridge can’t do that.

On the other hand, he added, Pitt Meadows also benefits by attracting airport-related businesses and licences.