Board selected for new Houston Airport Society

It’s focused on improvements to the airport

Organization of the new Houston Airport Society continued Oct. 17 when a board of directors was chosen and constitution and bylaws adopted.

With the above in hand, the society will now submit the paperwork to provincial officials well in advance of an Oct. 31 deadline for formal status.

“Everyone was united on working together on working on grants and other initiatives to bring money in to fund maintenance and upgrades to the facility and the clubhouse,” said Sue Jones, one of the society’s organizers.

At the meeting were representatives from user groups, chiefly Houston Off Road Users, Houston Mud Drags, the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) and the Houston Flying Club.

From those groups, the society’s board was selected — local pilot Chuck Dickson is president with Ken Stoelwinder from the Houston Flying Club and Brent Oprendries from the Houston Off Road Society as directors.

The treasurer is Russ Gutnecht and Sue Jones from CASARA is secretary.

Jones said airport users are pleased that District of Houston councillor Troy Reitsma has been named as the District’s liasion to the society and will also act as one of its directors.

The decision to form a society comes after the District of Houston, which owns the airport, is pondering its future.

Extensive upgrades are needed, particularly resurfacing the runway, but the District doesn’t have the money required.

With a society in place, the intent is to show community support for the facility when grants are requested from outside agencies and senior governments.

The key message is to demonstrate the importance of the airport from groups who use its ground facilities as well as for first responder air access, fire fighting access, air ambulance and to coordinate ground and air searches, said Jones.

Ideas to be developed include airport revenue generators such as selling fuel and holding larger events at the airport.

“It was a very productive meeting,” Jones added of the gathering.

A 2017 study commissioned by the District places the cost of improvements at $4.2 million, a figure the District now says would have to be revised because of the time that’s passed since the study was completed.

One immediate factor is resurfacing the asphalt as it is expected to signficantly deteriorate after 2020.

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