Hanger owners pitch in on taxiway recap at Melfort airport

Photo courtesy of City of Melfort. Existing hangar owners have agreed to fund half of the submitted application costs.

Nicole Goldsworthy
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

MELFORT – The City of Melfort has received additional funding from the Community Airport Partnership Program (CAP) grant that will go towards the rehabilitation and paving of the internal taxiway at the Miller Field Airport.

With the City of Melfort’s 2024 budget already passed, existing hangar owners have agreed to fund half of the submitted application costs, $112,500, of the full project.

The CAP grant was a previously denied application to the Ministry of Highways that was revisited in 2024. Approval was received after the budget was finalized for 2024 requiring council approval. Lydia Steffen, Director of Public Works, said, “Due to 2024 budgetary constraints, the city cannot allocate funds for this project in 2024. When this information was shared with the existing hangar owners, they recognized the significance of leveraging accessible grant funding.”

Steffen said the CAP grant is an equally shared funding project between the ministry and the city. The project is for the rehabilitation and paving of the internal taxiway at Miller Field Airport, not the actual runway, but a taxiway that is directly in front of hangars, adjacent to apron, and prior to the runway. 

The total expected project costs are anticipated to be $225,000. This type of project is not a high priority for the ministry, but due to an inability of several other communities to use funding, their application was revisited and approved said Steffen.

“During discussions, pilots, Dr. Trent Rae, and Dylan Szakacs represented the current hangar owners, who have agreed to cover the other share of associated costs. The city will facilitate the planning, design, and tendering process for this project.” 

The City of Melfort’s consultant, who completed initial planning and the opinion of probable cost (OPC) for the original application, has confirmed availability to finalize all planning and procurement obligations to allow the City of Melfort to complete this project within the required timeframe of the grant. 

This means they will be paying the cost of frontage of their own hangar lots and all unoccupied hangar lots. 

Steffen said hangar owners partaking in this cost-share agreement requested that all future lease agreements with the city include an improvement levy, on a depreciating scale, to be paid to the city and reimbursed to contributing hangar owners to recoup their additional costs.

There are currently 14 hangar owners that benefit from this project and their current site plan, have 10 open lots available for lease. 

As of April 10, 12 existing hangar owners are willing to cost share in this proposed project. Hangar owners have agreed to equally divide costs with willing lessees with the understanding that if the city leases an unoccupied lot, their costs can be recouped with a one-time improvement levy on those lots. 

This improvement levy will depreciate over time as the asset the lifespan of the asset depreciates. Also, to include the one-time improvement levy on the future lease renewals of the two lessees, not willing to participate in cost share, should ownership of their hangars change.