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Council members want more support for Stephenville airport

Stephenville council voted to approve a grant for the Stephenville Airport Corporation.
Stephenville council voted to approve a grant for the Stephenville Airport Corporation. - Star file photo

The Stephenville town council approved a grant of $200,000 to the Stephenville Airport Corp. for 2018 at its general meeting on Thursday, which Coun. Mike Tobin termed as a soul-searching exercise.

It wasn’t that he begrudged giving the taxpayers’ money to the airport, it was more that he would like to see more entities come on board since Stephenville is a regional airport and is servicing a number of towns and communities.

Tobin said the airport has been around a long time and the Stephenville town council has contributed a lot to it over the years.

Mayor Tom Rose said the Stephenville Airport Corp. board of directors came to the town council in December of 2015 with a plan to bring the airport back to sustainability with the support of significant grants from council during a three-year period.

“This is the third year of that strategic plan and, hopefully, it has worked out. I wish the board all the best,” he said.

Rose said help is needed for Stephenville airport due to services pulled out in recent years, including NAV Canada and Canadian Customs.

He said in Western Newfoundland NAV Canada has facilities in Stephenville and on Pine Tree, so they should be located in the town.

Rose said there once was a customs office in Stephenville, which was moved out because Humber Valley was supposed to be bringing in International Charters to Deer Lake, which he said never happened.

“We have more international flights here in Stephenville and when they land it takes hours to get a customs agent to the airport. There should be a customs office here in Stephenville,” he said.

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