The Annapolis Valley may very soon lose its only commercial airport. Kings County Council is moving to close Waterville Airport on September 30th of this year. The councilors say they are making way for the expansion of the neighboring Michelin Tire plant, and that such an expansion would benefit the local economy. The airport is on land leased from Kings County.
Michelin has stated that they have no plans to expand at Waterville at this time. The Waterville plant is out of date compared to Michelin plants in the US and Spain – and Michelin is funding expansions in those places.
Waterville Airport supports 154 jobs in Nova Scotia – 128 in the valley – and injects $7.18 million annually into our economy. It serves the people of Nova Scotia. Search and Rescue and Medivac flights use it, and its businesses contribute to the tourist economy of the Valley. Its Flight School trains young cadets every summer to fly, a number of whom go on to well-paid aviation-related jobs as a result of this early exposure to flying. The businesses at Waterville Airport are owned and run by Nova Scotians.
The Airport’s hangars and other infrastructure there represent substantial investment by Nova Scotia citizens. Council has refused so far to commit to any compensation for those whose buildings and businesses will be demolished when the airport is closed.
Since Michelin has said they have no plans to expand their plant onto the Waterville Airport land, who will benefit by the destruction of this busy hub of transportation and recreation? That question remains to be answered by Kings County Council or by the government of the Province of Nova Scotia.
What you can do:
- Email the councilors of Kings County at http://www.county.kings.ns.ca/ . Ask them why they are rushing to destroy a significant economic contributor to the region in favour of a highly unlikely future benefit.
Here are links to interviews and other sources concerning the closing of Waterville Airport.