Nfld. & Labrador

Stephenville council votes to funnel $32K a month to airport, until sale process is done

The town council in Stephenville has again voted to use taxpayer cash to fund the local airport, until the planned acquisition of the facility is resolved.

Mayor says court date set to resolve historic insolvency, and clear way for transfer

A sign with a town logo is shown.
Stephenville town council approved more cash for the local airport authority at a meeting Thursday night. A deal to sell the airport hasn't closed, 18 months after being announced. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The Stephenville town council is again making cash contributions to keep the local airport running, as the finalization of a deal to sell the operation drags on.

But now, Mayor Tom Rose says there is progress: a court date set for next month to resolve a long-running insolvency proceeding at the airport. 

Rose says that will clear the way for the acquisition to be completed.

"We've been doing it really on our backs and taxpayers' backs, but now somebody else will do it after April 12," the mayor said at the town's public council meeting on Thursday night.

Council voted to approve monthly contributions of $32,500 to the Stephenville Airport Corporation.

"We're pretty well at the end of the road for the contribution of the town, but we're not there yet," Rose said. "We're very, very close, probably just a month away."

The town can end the arrangement, with 30 days notice. 

And Rose says those council contributions will stop when the deal is done.

"So once this transfers, we don't have to give any more money to keep the lights on," Rose said. "That's somebody else's responsibility." 

A man wearing a dark hat faces the camera.
Tom Rose, pictured in a November 2022 file photo, is the mayor of Stephenville. (Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada)

Coun. Lenny Tiller cast the only vote against, saying it could lead to taxes being raised or expenditures being cut.

"We have done our part for 20 years, of keeping this place open," Tiller said. 

"We've done our part, in the last year and a half."

In September 2021, Ottawa businessman Carl Dymond announced his intention to buy the airport, spend hundreds of millions in private money, and create thousands of jobs.

His plans include a manufacturing facility for giant futuristic cargo drones, and the return of scheduled commercial passenger service to Stephenville. 

A series of previous deadlines and timelines for the sale to be finalized have come and gone.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


Rob Antle

CBC News

Rob Antle is producer for CBC's investigative unit in Newfoundland and Labrador.