Friday, April 21, 2017

City changes direction for airport oversight; with four new members named to Prince Rupert Airport Authority Board

Some significant changes have been made to the make up
of the Prince Rupert Airport Authority Board.

The City of Prince Rupert has put three familiar civic faces onto the Board of the Prince Rupert Airport Authority, though it makes for a move that marks a significant change in direction when it comes to oversight of the airport operations from how the city has handled airport issues in the past.

The new Board appointments which were made as part of a Closed Session of April 3rd, will see the City's Corporate Administrator Mr. Rory Mandryk, Mr. Paul Venditelli from the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Department and Mr. Richard Pucci the city's Director of Operations all assigned to the board. 

They will be joined by Mr. Cody Smith, who works with Quickload Terminals as the  Director of Business Development with the local transportation company.

Mr. Venditelli, who carries the Civic title of Manager of Transportation and Economic Development at the City of Prince Rupert, has been tapped to become the Board Chair, he will be replacing Judy Fraser who previously held that position.

Mayor Lee Brain outlined what the City of Prince Rupert hopes to achieve from the revision to the Board make up.

“These changes were made to improve communication and organizational coherence between the airport, and the ferry and the bus service that bring passengers to the airport,”

“Disconnection in the chain of transportation services has caused multiple logistical issues over the years, including lengthy delays at the Airport and a lack of communication between all three providers. We saw these appointments as a way to close this communication gap.” 

“Over the last couple years, we’ve implemented new initiatives to improve the Airport experience. We created a new a shuttle center, acquired new and improved buses and helped organize the grand opening of the new Airport terminal,”   

“We’re looking forward to continuing to see improvements at the airport, so that residents can access an efficient travel option.”

The four new appointees replace the four board members who saw their positions come up for reappointment, the departing members include Ms. Fraser, Dave Smith, Micheal Cote and Erminio Pucci, they had been appointed in May of 2015.

The existing four members of the Board Don Scott, Gloria Rendell, Kelly Sawchuk and Knut Bjorndall were appointed in 2016, they will remain in their positions as the new appointees take their seats.

The city's information announcement released on Friday is available for review here. Mayor Brain expands on those notes with a post to his Facebook portal available here.

The move by the City resembles a similar approach the city took with CityWest in 2014, which saw the city install three senior City officials on the Board of the city owned communication company.

Since that move took place, there has been little in the way of discussion on CityWest issues in public session of City Council, with council members rarely mentioning the city owned company as part of their council overview.

Likewise, this decision to take a different approach to the oversight of the Airport did not make for any form of public debate in the Council chamber, with no indication as to what the six sitting council members might have to say on the topic, or what long term outcomes that the city expects from the shift in governance of the facility.

Today's moves are not being hailed by some of the current board, with Don Scott expressing a number of his concerns when it comes to the city's decision to the Northern View.

Last month we noted some of the challenges that await the new board members, with the level of flight options having diminished at the Prince Rupert airport with the cessation of Hawkair service last year.

For more items related to Air Transportation in the Northwest see our archive page here.

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