EDITORIAL: Pay for Comox Valley Airport board an idea that should be grounded

Dismissing Chuck Fast’s argument against paying members of the Comox Valley Airport Commission would be easy.

And utterly wrong.

Dismissing Chuck Fast’s argument against paying members of the Comox Valley Airport Commission would be easy.

And utterly wrong.

Fast was the chief executive officer of the Comox Valley airport who was essentially fired from the job while he was on vacation.

Some people might be tempted to attribute his opposition to pay for board members as sour grapes — except his points make perfect sense.

As Fast wrote in a letter to the editor (Record, April 9), current CEO Fred Bigelow recently announced parking fees at the airport would rise by an average of 17 per cent.

The change, Bigelow said, is to offset rising operational costs due to inflation, building maintenance and increased passenger numbers.

If there is concern about the bottom line, this is not the time to pay board members, who currently volunteer.

The board, led by chair Linda Oprica, commissioned a study (how much did that cost?) to research possible pay for board members.

The study compared our airport to 10 other Canadian airports of similar size. It concluded there is “no regulatory impediment” to pay for CVAC board members.

As Fast noted, though, other airports do not have an air force base to handle the airfield.

The CVAC operates only the terminal, greatly lessening the board’s responsibilities compared to boards at other airports.

As such, comparing the CVAC board to counterparts at similar-sized airports is like the difference between flying a prop aircraft and a jet.

Fast, who should know, estimates “three to four meetings a year is all that is required to provide the necessary due diligence and strategic vision.”

Comox and Cumberland councils rightly rejected the idea of pay for CVAC board members when it was presented to them last week.

They saw it for the unnecessary and wasteful idea it is.

Regardless of the study’s findings, this is an idea that should not get off the ground.


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