A local airport appeared to be sold. But Region of Queens Municipality says it isn't

The South Shore Regional Airport is shown in a 2016 photo. The airport is up for sale by the Region of Queens Municipality. (South Shore Flying Club/Facebook - image credit)
The South Shore Regional Airport is shown in a 2016 photo. The airport is up for sale by the Region of Queens Municipality. (South Shore Flying Club/Facebook - image credit)

Officials with the Region of Queens Municipality say the sale of an airport to the Nova Scotia Drag Racers Association is not final, and they're not saying why a different offer that was more than 10 times as large fell through.

The municipality is trying to sell the South Shore Regional Airport, located in Greenfield, N.S.

The airport is used by the South Shore Flying Club and the drag racing association for races. It is also used for emergency landings and for tourism.

At a Nov. 8 meeting, council passed a motion 7-1 to "give notice of its intent" to sell the airport property to NSDRA.

Mayor Darlene Norman said that doesn't mean the airport is being sold to the association.

"The agenda item today is a motion to have a public hearing," she said at the meeting. "It is not a motion to sell the airport, it is a motion to have a public hearing, which would enable them, if council so chooses in the end, to sell it at less-than-fair market value."

Competing offers

Other parties interested in purchasing the airport are worried their offers won't be accepted.

Peter Gow, the president of the South Shore Flying Club, said his group offered $100,000 for the airport, which is $50,000 more than the NSDRA offer.

Gow said the flying club would enter into a long-term lease arrangement with the drag racing association so their races could continue.

His group is concerned it will lose flying privileges at the airport if the offer from the NSDRA is approved.

"I don't know why they're taking the racers' offer … considering if our offer would have been accepted that everything remains the same," said Gow.

David Joudrey, president of the NSDRA, wasn't available for an interview. He said in a message "we are fully intending on working with the South Shore Flying Club once the sale is finalized."

Dimitri Neonakis is also interested in purchasing the airport. He offered $200,000 for it.

The Halifax-area pilot is known for running a free program that gives sick and disabled children the chance to fly in his co-pilot's seat.

Lara Cassidy
Lara Cassidy

He said it's important the province has small airports, citing safety reasons.

He said there was an incident last year where a pilot was flying and a passenger had a heart attack. Knowing the South Shore Regional Airport was nearby, the pilot radioed for help.

"If that airport wasn't there ... we would have lost a life," he said.

Neonakis said if his offer is accepted, he would hand over the airport to the South Shore Flying Club

"My intention was to save the airport," he said.

Public hearing to be held in December

At the Nov. 8 council meeting, Deputy Mayor Jack Fancy said at least four people are interested in purchasing the airport.

He told CBC News that no sale has been finalized despite what interested parties may believe.

"I believe that for each group they probably are thinking that maybe it's a done deal, but there's nothing completed at this particular time, so there's nothing that's been voted on, so it's still open," he said.

There will be a public hearing regarding the potential sale of the airport on Dec. 13.

Fancy said a public hearing would be held before council voted on any sale.

$565K sale didn't happen

A previous sale of the airport to a German firm for $565,000 was approved at an April 26 council meeting, but that deal fell through. It is unclear why.

Fancy said because the discussion happened in private, the reasons can't be disclosed.

He said council will talk more about the airport at its next meeting on Tuesday.