Timmins Chamber offers ideas to enhance airport’s economic impact

Date ArticleType
6/21/2016 Press Release

The local economy could potentially benefit from changes to the Timmins Victor M. Power Airport, such as winter-specific parking areas and public transportation access, according to a new report by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce.

Presented to Timmins City Council on June 20 by Chris Bender, the Chair of the Chamber’s Municipal Affairs Committee, Business Climate Improvement: Report on the Timmins Victor M. Power Airport outlines 10 specific ways the City can enhance the many benefits that the facility already provides.

“Our recommendations focus on fostering a positive experience while encouraging repeated use of the facility, with the ultimate goal of strengthening the airport’s status as an overall economic driver for the community,” said Bender, who also serves as the Chamber’s first vice-president.

“Indeed, we’re looking to provide constructive suggestions to make the airport as competitive and business-friendly as possible. The Chamber was founded in 1949 in part to advocate and fundraise for the construction of a local airport, and it’s a topic that our members are still passionate about today.”

This approach has led to the report’s inclusion of such recommendations as the establishment of a long-term premium parking area at the airport, where premium pricing would provide access for block heaters in order to better serve travellers during the winter months. Other items in the report, such as keeping the public’s flight and weather information boards up to date and establishing an overflow area for short-term parking pick-up, focus on increasing the airport’s user-friendliness and reinforcing a positive impression of local facilities.

The report also features some measures designed to encourage greater use of the airport by general aviation users, which in turn enhance Timmins’ status as a destination. Related recommendations include encouraging airport administration to continue its ongoing cooperation in introducing a flight school to Timmins, and to promote the private-sector potential to institute an on-site, self-serve reserve of fuel for use by general aviation pilots.

The idea of expanding access to the airport for a broader range of users is also at the heart of the report’s push to develop a pilot project that would explore possible public transportation routes to and from the airport. This would be of particular use for residents who either lack a vehicle or who wish to avoid long-term parking on site; it would also provide more transportation options for employees of airport businesses, potentially providing greater staffing options and enabling more flexible hours of operation.

These recommendations were collected by the Chamber’s Municipal Affairs Committee, which reached out to the local business community and industry stakeholders over the course of the last year through surveys, one-on-one interviews, and roundtable discussions.

“As with all of the Chamber’s recommendations to council, the ideas put forward in this report attempt to strike a balance between fiscal responsibility and an improved business climate,” said Bender. “We feel that this report achieves that goal, and we look forward to working with City Council and airport administration to explore its implementation.”

This report is a follow-up to a similar report the Chamber issued in 2010 regarding potential improvements to the Victor M. Power Airport. In the intervening years, the Chamber has worked with City council and airport administrators to explore and implement some of its original recommendations, including the construction of additional parking areas and the use of flight information monitors. Others, such as a new business centre, were successfully implemented as a project led by Chamber members through the Business Takes the Lead program.

This also marks the third report on municipal issues that the Timmins Chamber of Commerce has created on behalf of its members in the last three years. The first, Business Climate Improvement: Report on Development, was presented to Timmins City Council in 2013, and focused on finding ways to make it easier for businesses to pursue development in the City of Timmins. Several of those recommendations have since been implemented, and the Chamber continues to monitor progress.

The second, Business Climate Improvement: Report on Municipal Procurement, was presented to City Council in 2014; its recommendations focused on providing local businesses more clarity and better opportunities to compete. After working with various councillors and administrators, the Chamber has noted various efforts by the municipality to improve its processes, such as providing more substantive information within staff reports regarding municipal RFPs.

The Chamber makes every effort to be as inclusive as possible of its members’ views so as best to represent their interests at all levels of government.  Members who have business issues – municipal, provincial, or federal – that they would like to see addressed are encouraged to contact the Chamber.

To view the Business Climate Improvement: Report on the Timmins Victor M. Power Airport, visit http://tinyurl.com/BCI-TimminsAirport

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About the Timmins Chamber of Commerce

With over 700 members, the Timmins Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest accredited chambers of commerce with distinction in northeastern Ontario. As the “Voice of Business in Timmins” since 1949, our advocacy and policy initiatives focus on ensuring a positive business climate in the City of Timmins.

Contact:

Nick Stewart
Manager of Policy, Research and Communications
Timmins Chamber of Commerce
(705) 360-1900
policy@timminschamber.on.ca