Pitt Meadows airport board stepping down

The board of directors for the Pitt Meadows Airport has announced that all five members of the board will step down as of July 31.

The Pitt Meadows Airport will have new leadership.

The Pitt Meadows Airport will have new leadership.

The board of directors for the Pitt Meadows Airport has announced that all five members of the board will step down as of July 31.

The cities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, partners in the airport society, recently began a review of the governance of YPK, as well as the development of a long-term strategic plan for the facility, said a press release announcing the board’s resignation.

Directors Dr, Anne McAfee, Wendy Boyes and Dave Walsh are coming to the end of their three year term as of June, and have voluntarily extended their time to July 31. Directors Murray Day and Greg Andrews are leaving the board before their three-year terms expire.

“This is a good time for us to leave as well,” said Day, the chairman of the board.

He noted that the present board has got work underway on $2.5 million worth of airport improvements that include extending the runway to 5,000 feet and adding new runway lights. They also leave the airport in sound shape financially, with a $14 million endowment in the bank.

“The board has worked hard to make sure the airport is sustainable, and has room to grow,” said Day.

Day said from his perspective the two councils appear to be meeting and cooperating. This, after Maple Ridge rebuffed a request from Pitt Meadows to leave the operating of the airport solely to Pitt Meadows.

The two sides are working on a new governance model, and that work will need to be done by July 31.

“They’ve been meeting already and working on it,” said Day. “If you will, we’re pushing them a little bit to get on with this.”

The board is supposed to have nine members, but has been functioning with five – the minimum required for a quorum, for the past two years, as the cities have not agreed on new appointees.

Both city councils expressed thanks for the work the board has done over the past term and recognized the growth of the airport over the past several years, including the addition of large aviation businesses, daily flights to Victoria, flight schools attracting foreign students, and several safety improvements.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank the Board members for their service to the aviation community at the airport and their work on building this economic asset for the region to where it is today,” said Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker in a press release. “We will be announcing the interim plan for the airport governance in the upcoming weeks in conjunction with our colleagues in Maple Ridge.”

“I join Mayor Becker in thanking the board for their service and their patience as we move forward with the development of the vision and strategic planning of this important regional asset,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read.

“As we look around the region, we see how the airports in Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Langley all play a role as economic drivers of tourism, technology and education. Both Councils will be collaborating on the plan to ensure this facility continues to grow and prosper.”

In a letter to both Mayors and Councils, the Airport Board noted that since the YPK Master Plan was reaching the end of its life and the Strategic Plan was due to be updated, they felt the time was right for this transition of the board, and would be willing to stay on while the review and planning process is completed.

An interim governance plan will be put into place in the coming weeks, and both municipalities will be working together to continue the review and strategic planning that has been in the works.