New committee will explore future of Peterborough Airport

From The Peterborough Examiner – link to source story

By Joelle Kovach, Examiner Reporter | Tue., May 11, 2021

A new committee that’s expected to help develop Peterborough Airport will meet for a first time and consider whether it wants to have a Peterborough County politician as a member — but two city councillors made it clear on Monday they don’t think a county councillor belongs.

Coun. Dean Pappas and Coun. Keith Riel said they didn’t think anyone from county council ought to be on the committee, but Coun. Stephen Wright — who will be a member of the committee — said he wanted fellow members to discuss it at a first meeting.

“I think we should communicate to county council that we’re not closing the door on anything,” he said, though city councillors agreed to simply receive the request from the county to be invited onto the committee (and not write the county a letter of response).

Pappas and Riel, however, made it clear exactly where they stand.

Pappas said the city has spent more than $40 million on Peterborough Airport — which is city-owned, though it sits on land in neighbouring Cavan Monaghan Township — yet rural politicians “have never partnered with us.”

They have no business on the committee, he said: “I don’t see any reason to include them.”

Riel said the city has spent millions on the airport and generated jobs, only for Cavan Monaghan Township to collect the property taxes.

“The (county) warden likes to say we’re all in this together. Maybe when the cheque is in the mail,” he said.

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Cavan Monaghan Mayor Scott McFadden was following the livestreamed discussion and wrote in a message to The Examiner on Monday night that he found the behaviour from Riel and Pappas “appalling.”

He called Riel and Pappas “angry individuals” and said the city ought to at least communicate back to the township and county — even if they don’t agree that it’s a regional airport and the rural counterparts could enhance the committee.

McFadden also noted that Riel kept erroneously calling it “Cavan-North Monaghan.” The township’s name was changed to Cavan Monaghan from Cavan-Millbrook-North Monaghan 14 years ago. McFadden said that a “respectful” conversation starts with getting the name right.

“Municipalities, both council and staff, must collaborate with other local governments and Indigenous communities that share a common interest in community health, culture and economy,” Peterborough County Warden J. Murray Jones told The Examiner.

“It is only through respect, collaboration and co-operation that the county and city can meet our obligations to the community.”