Nova Scotia to approach military base about relocation of Waterville airport

WATERVILLE, N.S. – The Nova Scotia government and a municipal council in the Annapolis Valley have decided to relocate a local airport in order to make way for a possible expansion of a Michelin Tire plant.

The decision regarding the Waterville municipal airport was made Tuesday following an update to Kings County council on a study exploring the potential expansion of the Michelin Tire plant in Waterville. The plant is located next to the airport.

The French tire giant has said there is no guarantee of an expansion, but it wants to be able to move quickly if it decides to do so.

In a news release, the Department of Economic Development said it would work with the municipality to look at the possibility of relocating the airport at Canadian Forces Base Greenwood.

The department said a letter would be sent to the base to request a feasibility study.

“A major Michelin expansion means new jobs and more opportunities for the Valley,” Economic Development Minister Graham Steele said in a statement.

“We are providing the proper environment and necessary information so Michelin can explore the possibility.”

County of Kings Warden Diana Brothers said the decision was made in the community’s best interest.

“We want to make sure we are making decisions that will benefit our community both today and well into the future,” said Brothers.

Michelin employs about 3,500 people in Nova Scotia, including 1,200 at its plant in Waterville.

Last May, Premier Darrell Dexter announced a study would look at relocating the airport to allow for expansion at Michelin.

The study by Halifax-based CBCL Ltd. said various options for the airport relocation were considered including the development of an “airpark” in association with the existing 14 Wing at Greenwood.

It said the option is estimated to cost about $6.7 million, subject to completed negotiations with the Department of National Defence.

The current airport has a 1,066-metre asphalt runway that mainly serves small aircraft.