Manitoulin East Municipal Airport will see new east/west runway installed by 2020

MANITOULIN EAST—Manitoulin East Municipal Airport has made it official—the airport, run jointly between the municipalities of Northeast Town and Assiginack—will boast a new runway by 2020.

Airport manager George Dobbs explained that the project for an east/west runway began in 2010 when construction was taking place on Highway 6. The contractor loaned the airport use of its bulldozer with airport staff clearing 2,600 of land down to the bedrock—the base of the east/west runway.

The following year, Mr. Dobbs added, culverts were added and leftover road materials from the construction project were spread on the would-be runway.

Since 2011, other capital projects took priority, but with a healthy surplus “we’re now in a position to work on the runway,” Mr. Dobbs said.

“It’s a safety factor,” the airport manager said. “We have a history of very strong crosswinds here.”

With a new east/west runway, the Manitoulin East Municipal Airport will have the ability to welcome small planes, such as ultralights, training planes to four-seaters.

“Right now we can’t get some of that traffic,” he said.

The new runway will be a combination of gravel and turf, but could become paved at a later date.

As for the road construction currently taking place along Highway 6, Mr. Dobbs said he would “love” to get his hands on some of the leftover road materials, and has made a request, but so far he’s seen nary a shovelful.

Mr. Dobbs said the new runway will be open for business by late summer 2019 or 2020.