Hello friends of the Alberta Aviation Museum,
I have now returned from a much-needed vacation to start the heavy workload that lies ahead with the decision that arose from Council in July.
After getting up to speed on the latest news, a meeting was coordinated with Andre Corbould, Catrin Owen (Deputy City Manager- Communications and Engagement), Councillor Anne Stevenson, Brent Abbott (President), Ryan Lee (Curator), Erica d’Haene (Operations Director), and myself.
At this meeting it was stated that the COE would assign a single point of contact for our activity. The contact assigned to this is Catrin Owen (Deputy City Manager- Communications and Engagement). She is responsible for external relations and intergovernmental relations at the City, and is building a team, with Real Estate, Infrastructure, and others. Mr. Corbould will still be involved, but probably very tangential; Ms. Owen is the key leader at the City of Edmonton on our project. Adam Laughlin is also involved, working on land assessment, and examining land options here at Blatchford; we expect to hear more in 1-2 weeks.
The areas where we will collaborate include public relations and communication, ongoing maintenance, progress on an action plan, and marketing. Given that the COE owns the property and has records relating to Hangar 14, it was implied that the City would have the lead on marketing and structuring incentives for a prospective purchaser. Mr. Corbould also indicated that the preferred outcome is for the museum to remain in Hangar 14.
On the subject of maintenance, Mr. Corbould confirmed that they would respond quickly to outages, but did not commit to preventative maintenance. He indicated that he has coordinated with Councillor Stevenson on the issue, and they are on the same page. Due to the issues with the furnace, Councillor Stevenson is looking into the possibility of connecting Hangar 14 to the District Energy connection in Blatchford.
Both Mr. Corbould and Councillor Stevenson indicated that the two-year point is an opportunity to review progress and review the entire proposition.
In our remarks, Brent emphasized that the Capital Campaign took several years at the Royal Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, and we are at the very start of a four to six year journey. The option of owning Hangar 14 or having a purpose-built structure would both require a major Capital Campaign.
They reasserted that incentives would be offered to a purchaser, and AAMA as a social enterprise could be the purchaser. The COE rehabilitation estimate of $41 million is public information and provides us with a benchmark for marketing. It was stated that a Marketing Study would be done, but it has not yet been started.
Mr. Corbould indicated he has asked the administration staff about Hangar 39 as an alternative location in Blatchford. The response was that it has deteriorated greatly and is designated for destruction in the next two years. It is not recommended to be inhabited. It was also hinted that there was pressure from Blatchford developers on that piece of land.
Ms. Owen agreed to speak to the Board and tour the facility at the next AAMA Board meeting. She would also be able to provide an update from an inter-departmental working group meeting that will be held next week.
As Ryan had stated in previous updates, understanding the true costs is vital to moving forward through this process and making decisions for the museum. After a formal request for documents regarding the hangar was sent, we received several documents from the City and are now in the process of reviewing them.
Many people, organizations, businesses, and museums have come forward offering support and help in whatever way they can because they feel that what we do is so vital and important. For that, we thank everyone for the support they have provided. We will be seeking continued support from a variety of areas including the levels of government, aviation, tourism, and other industries.
We thank you for your support and encourage you to stay connected to learn the progress of this next adventure before us.
Thank you for your Support,
Alberta Aviation Museum