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Simcoe County to buy majority stake of Lake Simcoe Regional Airport

Posted August 8, 2019

Simcoe County will pay approximately $5.18 million for 70 per cent of ownership shares of the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport (LSRA) from the City of Barrie and Oro-Medonte.

The County, which currently owns 20 per cent of LSRA, will pay Barrie $3.7 million for 50 of its 60 per cent, leaving the City with a 10 per cent stake, and $1.48 million to Oro-Medonte for its 20 per cent.

LSRA's whose planning dates back to the 1970s to service as a regional airport for the Barrie area, was officially opened in 1991 with 3,500 ft runway on the 7th Line, north of Hwy 11 in Oro. In 1993, a 5,000 ft runway was built, along with a terminal building. In 2009, the City of Barrie and the Township of Oro-Medonte established a municipal services corporation to manage the airport operation. In 2014, the County became a partner with its 20 per cent purchase.

The airport services small recreational and flight training aircraft to larger corporate, regional and commercial aircraft. It advertises chartered flights to Toronto taking less than 20 minutes to arrive. Additionally, it is fully serviced by the Canada Border Service Agency, and holds Commercial Port-Of-Entry status, which allows the airport to accommodate both international passengers and freight.

The report setting out details of the pending sale of shares is included on the Aug. 13 meeting of County council. It suggests the County is in the best position to leverage the approximate $40 million estimated to undertake airport improvements and the infrastructure upgrades to service the 240 hectares (595 acres) of land, of which 58 hectares (142 acres) is marked for airside commercial development opportunities and a further 24 hectares (60 acres) available for non-aviation development.

"Two substantial Airport users have short-listed the LSRA for the expansion/re-location of their business operations. The opportunities present significant, quality employment and investment that would benefit the entire area," according to Zarah Walpole, Director of Legal Services in her report to council. "Timing for the projects ranged from 12 to 24 months for decision and implementation. In order to protect the commercial and strategic business interests of the leads, and in keeping with economic development standard operating practices, the identities of the leads remain confidential at this time."

The LSRA would require expanding the runway to 7,000 ft in length and 150 feet in width, and water/wastewater servicing to accommodate the additional employees.

Once the sale is confirmed, Simcoe County will be responsible for 90 per cent of the cost to operate and maintain the LSRA.

All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri