BY KIRK STARRATT
Kings County Advertiser/Register
The County of Kings wants to be ready if Michelin should set its sights on expanding its Waterville plant. Following an in-camera meeting of Kings County council May 1, the municipality and province announced the province would fund a study examining the re-location of the municipally owned airport in Cambridge.
The study is expected to cost up to $100,000 and will be conducted in cooperation with Michelin and the county. The study will be completed by the end of the summer.
“A successful feasibility study will show a way to support and promote Michelin’s growth and the needs of the airport,” Warden Diana Brothers said. “I’m confident we’ll find a win-win way to do it.”
Michelin employs about 3,500 people in Nova Scotia, including 1,200 at the Waterville plant. Brothers said Michelin is woven into the county’s diverse economic fabric and this global company is a model of successful business retention for the municipality. She said the county is excited about the prospect of a major expansion because a bigger Michelin means more jobs for Kings.
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However, Brothers said the airport is a valuable community asset and the needs of the airport would not be taken lightly. Formerly a private airstrip, the municipality purchased the airport in 1978. The airport is currently managed by the Waterville Airport Co-op, a joint management board of businesses at the airport, and is open year-round.
Brothers said the county met with the airport co-op following council’s in-camera meeting May 1. She said they were thanked for including the airport in the process.
“A successful feasibility study will show a way to support and promote Michelin’s growth and the needs of the airport." Warden Diana Brothers
Brothers said council gave permission for the Warden and chief administrative officer to be part of a study group with the province to explore opportunities for economic development in the county and province. A number of meetings were held.
She said a selection committee would be formed, including district councillor Basil Hall, to review a request for proposals and make recommendations to the study group.
The Kings County Municipal Airport Business Park is located on the 94-acre airport site 16 kilometres west of downtown Kentville. The airport features a 75-foot wide, 3,500 feet paved runway and a 30,000 square foot paved apron with tie downs.