Peter Szperling, Multi-Skilled Journalist | Monday, August 16, 2021
OTTAWA — Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Flying Club is marking its 60th anniversary but it’s bitter-sweet as it is at a risk of closing.
“There’s a real risk that the club could close,” club president Nicole Harris told CTV News Ottawa.
The club is a not-for-profit. Harris says multiple factors have affected their financial situation, including the pandemic.
“We’re running and maintaining the airport solely based off of the revenue from the flying school,” she said.
Harris said that they are responsible for all of the costs of operating the Rockcliffe Airport, located east of Ottawa’s downtown and next to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and they don’t receive any government money.
“It’s a unique situation that I believe we’re the only ones in Canada.”
While those costs have increased throughout the years, restrictions during COVID-19 meant less revenue, especially during the winter months, when costs are higher, and the club has fallen short of their anticipated income and budget.
“We kind of got to, I guess, the critical stage where we cannot continue in this path, but it’s very important for our members; the club means a lot to them,” Harris said.
Matthew Kwasniewski, who wants to one day become a commercial airline pilot, hopes the club doesn’t close.
“I’d like to see it stay open, to be honest. It would be too bad to see this community go,” he says.
He’s reaching for his goal through a program at Algonquin College and is learning to fly at the club.
“It’s the only real flying club that I’ve known so far in my short career.”
The club is asking members to contribute to a fundraising drive, and have setup a GoFundMe page, with a goal of $50,000.