Vermilion resident and pilot Darcy Balaneski gave a presentation which discussed the economic opportunities for the Vermilion airport at the Town of Vermilion Council meeting on October 18. Three other local pilots were also in attendance.
Balaneski made a presentation before Council discussing the value Vermilion’s local airport could bring to the community.
“I firmly believe that Vermilion has an advantage over many smaller communities with our airport located where it is and with its potential. Successful airports are considered transportation infrastructure, just like highways, roads, and sidewalks. As a successful airport we could provide services needed in the community like Medevac aircraft services, or as a facility to bring in assistance and relief supplies when a natural disaster strikes the area. It could also act as a facility to bring business and commerce to the community, or a base for flight training so people can learn to fly in their own community.
Border City Aviation (Steve Watt) is looking into basing a satellite flight training school here. It is my long-term goal to establish an ultra light flight school based here in Vermilion,” said Balaneski.
“Our airport could be used as a facility to bring tourists and visitors to the community to spend money visiting the local sights, staying in local hotels and eating in local restaurants and thereby greatly contributing to the local community," he added.
Balaneski also said the Vermilion Airport could be a port for aircraft in need of a place to land when the weather deteriorates and a base for agricultural aviation to provide crop spraying, pest control, and other services to farmers and residents.
“It could it be used as a facility for scheduled air service to bring business into the community and goods and services out or as a base for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations to be carried out by both for Canadian Forces SAR aircraft and CASARA (Civil Air Search and Rescue Association) resources. It could also be used as a recreational facility for residents to use and for pilots to fly from including ultra lights and glider operations and as a destination for school field trips, Scouts, Cubs and a potential home base for a squadron of Air Cadets,” added Balaneski.
He told Council that he believes Vermilion Airport can create sustainability for future generations to enjoy.
“Income could be generated from a fuel surcharge by installing a fuel system. It is my hope that Vermilion can incorporate a system to help make the airport more attractive to potential users and to become self-sufficient from a cost perspective,” said Balaneski.
Balaneski told Council that other streams of revenue could be made from hanger home lease lots, fees for commercial operations, renting out the airport to a drag racing club occasionally, encouraging UAV operators to set up shop for research/design and testing, as well as, encouraging pilots to make Vermilion a destination.
“A single visiting aircraft typically would buy $200 worth of fuel and support the local economy by shopping at local businesses utilizing local hotels and enjoying recreational facilities,” said Balaneski.
The Vermilion Regional Airport was completed and opened for business in 1948. The Vermilion Municipal Airport is a paved, lighted, year-round facility with a runway measuring 3300’ x 75’.
Vermilion Regional Airport offers two miles of paved runways, taxiway, and roads with lighting and NAV systems. Hanger rentals start at $70.00 a month.