Residents in the Sandhills area are calling for the closure of the Parkland Airport after three years of unpaid taxes.
The Parkland Airports future has once again come into question from residents of Parkland County.
Residents of the Sandhills area surrounding the private airport have been in protest against it practically since its inception saying the noise, pollution and environmental degradation has had a large impact on their area. Members of the Enoch reserve have also tried to shut down the airport in the past. A petition was sent to the federal government, picket lines were created and a mail out to all members of parliament was undertaken but still no signs of slowing down for the Parkland Airport which is under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
Now, residents around the county are coming together demanding the closure of the Parkland Airport after three years of unpaid taxes amounting to $264,121.58 owed to Parkland County. Resident Steven Kenworthy explained his side of the situation with One News saying, "the airport is over three years in arrears of their taxes, so now all the Parkland residents are helping pay for this unwanted and unneeded airport".
Kenworthy further explains that the land the airport stand on should be sold stating, "it seems to me that anyone else who didn't pay their taxes like that would be subject to having their land taken away and sold at an auction".
Despite his frustrations Kenworthy does understand the predicament Parkland County is currently in as he notes, "for us and for the county to be fair, it's easy for them to say 'well airports are federal jurisdiction so there's nothing we can do' and that's true, they can't do a lot of things to that property because it's an airport and airports are under federal jurisdiction."
The Parkland County offices are trying to do all they can to try and remedy the problem and recover lost tax dollars. In speaking with the Communications Coordinator for Parkland County Sarah Mate, she explains, "Parkland County is aware of the residents concerns, we are actively participating in court proceedings and have informed the courts and creditors about outstanding amounts owing to Parkland County for taxes."
Mate was unable to share a lot of information due to it now being a legal matter within the courts but she does note, "we can state that there are properties within the airport lands that will be required to be offered for auction as per the Municipal Government Act, with reserve bids set by Council and any conditions of sale also per the MGA". Mate adds she can not specify what lands specifically could be offered for auction.
Mate further explained these are regulatory processes outline in the MGA and they will have to follow the appropriate timelines set out in the Act. She also states Parkland County is second in line in creditors behind the CRA.
Although steps are being taken, Kenworthy still believes it is time for the airport to shut down immediately, "They are operating this airport without any financial constraints. They are tens of millions of dollars in debt, yet you drive by there today and there is still planes flying".