Canadian Helicopters wants help from city to relocate
March 9, 2012 By The Edmonton Journal
March 9, 2012, Edmonton - A major player in the local aviation industry wants financial help from the city to move into more expensive space at Edmonton International Airport.
Canadian Helicopters, the country's largest helicopter operator, has to relocate from its current site at the City Centre Airport which is being closed to make way for residential development. The company's lease at the City Centre Airport expires in September.
Company president Don Wall told council's executive committee Wednesday that the company, with 50 years in Edmonton, would like to keep operating locally. But to do so, it wants help covering some of its costs associated with moving to the International.
The cost of operating an office and hangar at the International is about $33 per square foot, compared to about $11.50 per square foot at the City Centre Airport, Wall said. The company asked the city to help cover moving expenses of about $200,000 and provide a subsidy of $100,000 every year for five years to help absorb the higher operating costs.
"That's a very small percentage of what it's going to cost us," Wall said.
Without assistance, the company will have to consider leaving the area, officials said. "It's not our first choice. We're looking at the city to take a pro-business approach," said Robert MacKay, Canadian Helicopter vice-president of special projects. No decision on the matter was reached Wednesday. The committee, which includes several councillors and Mayor Stephen Mandel, discussed the request and asked city administration to continue talking to the company.