Homeowners could step outside to warm up their Cessna in the backyard and take a spin around the sky before lunch if a proposal to build an airpark at Sundre Airport takes off.
The idea of developing an air park is part of a plan for about 9,600 acres of Mountain View County southwest of Sundre.
Residential airparks, sometimes known as hangar homes, have been developed in other communities and are aimed at the flying community. The developments are geared to allow people to build a home and locate a hangar and taxiway on their property so they have easy access to their small planes for flying or maintenance.
“The market for residential airpark or hangar homes is not large but it is a specialty market,” says the South McDougall Flats Area Structure Plan. Typically, airparks have up to 150 hangar home lots ranging in size from 6,000 to nearly 32,600 square feet. Hangars can be built detached or as part of a home similar to a typical residential garage.
Reeve Al Kemmere said the county sees the Didsbury Airport as being a more commercial facility, leaving the Sundre airport as a potential airpark site.
“It’s just a concept right now,” he said. The idea has promise as a way of providing another reason for people to look to the area to set down roots. A public hearing on the area structure plan is set for today.
The development of Sundre Airport got a boost last month when the federal government approved $700,000 towards the cost of paving the runway. That project is expected to happen this summer.
The plans says it would be up to Mountain View County to identify the area suitable for an airpark and create a strategy to subdivide and sell the lots. The airpark would be a gated community overseen by a condominium association. An access fee would be charged to each condominium owner for use of the main taxiway runway to subsidize the operation and maintenance of the airport.
Airparks have proven successful elsewhere. Twin Island Airpark, 20 km southeast of Edmonton, and Okotoks Air Ranch, 50 km southeast of Calgary, have offered similar opportunities to those who like to keep their heads in the clouds. The idea has proven popular in the U.S., where more than 600 airparks have been developed.
An airpark has also been suggested in Lacombe.