Roland-Desourdy Airport: Granby, Bromont and Cowansville Agree for 20 Years

The suspense about the future of the agreement between Granby, Cowansville and Bromont at the Eastern Townships Regional Airport Authority (RARCE) ended on Tuesday. The elected representatives of the three municipalities then authorized the signature of a new agreement for the next 20 years.
C’is with enthusiasm that the president of the RARCE and mayor of Cowansville, Sylvie Beauregard, addresses this “new era” for the regional airport. “Really, I’m very happy with the deal. We have set a structure, a vision for the future of the airport in the medium term, “she said in an interview.

The agreement provides that the financial contributions of the cities remain unchanged for the coming years, ie $ 96,000 each. This sum will be mainly dedicated to the operations of the Régie. The amount allocated to it, however, should be regressive over the years. In fact, RARCE is self-financing. All surpluses resulting from its activities, as well as a portion of the municipalities’ share, will go into an investment fund for the capital assets of the airport.

For its part, Bromont will have to pay a “special contribution”. This will be used to offset the property tax revenues of industrial and commercial buildings related to the aeronautical sector that it will receive. “It’s win-win for everyone,” said Mayor of Bromont, Louis Villeneuve. The latter also sees this agreement as a springboard for the economic boom of the region. “The agreement will solidify the partnership between the three cities,” he said. It was a bit that we moved in a certain blur. We see that there is an interest in developing the airport and that everyone benefits from it. We are really in a collaborative mood. ”

The three municipal councils endorsed Tuesday the new agreement unanimously councilors present.

Governance

The governance rules of the Régie have also been reviewed. From now on, the mayors of the three cities, as well as a councilor from each municipality, will sit on the organization.

In addition, no city may withdraw from the tripartite agreement before December 31, 2024. From that date, a municipality wishing to avail itself of this option will have to notify the others one year in advance. In the case of a renunciation, the locality in question would receive its share of the market value of the assets of the Régie.

Note that the new agreement may be revised every five years at the request of one of the cities.

The agreement also provides for other municipalities to be added to the RARCE. An option that the mayor of Granby, Pascal Bonin, sees a good eye. Ditto for his colleagues in Bromont and Cowansville. Pascal Bonin also mentioned in an interview that Magog would be “likely” to join the Régie. The subject would have been addressed “a few times” by Mayor Vicki-May Hamm, he said.

Benefits

In November 2016, Granby had mentioned that it could withdraw from the Régie. Nearly a year later, the RARCE member municipalities renewed the agreement for one year in order to deepen the matter to resolve the impasse. In this regard, the data revealed to the elected representatives of the three cities during this period by the firm Explorer Solutions are eloquent. These include economic spin-offs in the region, direct and indirect, approaching $ 2.8 million. This statistic includes operating and capital expenditures by city.

Nearly 84% of these spinoffs go to Granby, a little over 2.3 million, while Bromont raises about $ 350,000 and Cowansville nearly $ 100,000.

Pascal Bonin conceded that the figures emanating from the study weighed in the balance to renew the agreement until December 2039. “It is obvious that the economic impacts of the airport in Granby opened the eyes to several board members, me first, “he argued.

The mayor of Granby also outlined the contribution of the new director general of the airport, Jean Langevin, who took office in August. “Mr. Langevin took the renewal of the agreement in hand and delivered the goods. He was very popular with municipal councils. We have someone passionate and hyper-competent, we must give him the means to succeed. ”

Development

In 2016, Bromont acquired from IBM approximately 1.2 million square feet of land on the east side of the airstrip. The new tripartite agreement provides that RARCE will buy the site. The acquisition of a second plot of land belonging to the computer giant is in the cards, said the president of the Board.

In this sense, a well defined area on the airport site will be created. The three municipalities will work together to attract new businesses in this niche. “We have an extremely positive agreement. We are starting on solid foundations with a common vision, said Jean Langevin. It does not matter which company will come to the airport, I want to make sure that I maximize the benefits in each of the three municipalities. “

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