As good flying weather returns, pilots and others who use Owen Sound Airport are trying to increase pressure on Owen Sound City Council to reverse a January decision to impose onerous landing fees at the facility. Council voted to impose a $35 fee for aircraft weighing less than 5,000 kg. and $70 for heavier planes. A flight school based at the airport will be exempt. For council, the calculation was a simple one. The airport gets a mix of traffic and averages about 3,000 movements a year so imposing the fee should raise about $100,000, offsetting the $220,000 annual budget. Of course, traffic will drop to virtually nothing and the move will likely cause a net drop in revenue because of drastically reduced fuel sales.
Supporters of the airport have started a petition to get council to rethink its plan and there have been some other more creative ideas. Gord Price, an air show pilot and owner of the Dam Pub offered to open a restaurant at the airport on the condition that the fees be dropped. Supporters, with help from the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, have offered to help the city create a sustainable financial plan for the airport.