A lack of planning time has grounded the 2012 Rotary Brantford Charity Air Show for the second year in a row.
“Upon the announcement by Brantford city council that the repairs to the airport apron would be completed this summer, the air show committee of the Brantford Rotary Club met to discuss several scenarios," said Rotarian Sherry Kerr, who is in charge of this year's show. "It was determined that there was not enough time or resources to host a 2012 air show to the calibre Brantford is accustomed to.”
The air show, scheduled for Aug. 29, was in danger after the federal Department of National Defence expressed concern that the crumbling tarmac at the Brantford Municipal Airport was unfit for use by military jets – including perennial favourites the Snowbirds Demonstration Team – and pulled its aircraft from the show.
City council budgeted $450,000 in 2010 and 2011 to repair the tarmac, but the expenditure was not approved until this spring.
Last year, a delegation of Rotarians cautioned council that delaying the repairs until 2012 would scuttle the show.
The construction contract was awarded last week to Wallenstein-based company Steed and Evans, said City of Brantford senior technical co-ordinator Lise Sordo, with work to start in the coming weeks and finish no later than July 12, as per the contract.
“That guarantees us that we'll be done with plenty of time for the air show, should there be one,” Sordo said.
Airport manager Mark Culshaw agreed that, if work proceeded as scheduled, the site would be ready for a show in late August.
“Especially with the great weather we've been having, we anticipate no delays,” Culshaw said.
But there is more to the air show than a solid tarmac, Kerr said. Rotary's air show committee normally spends a full year securing sponsors and planning the event. The uncertainty over the tarmac slowed those preparations.
Despite the challenges to this year's air show, Coun. John Utley hopes there is still time to pull together some kind of scaled-down event.
“I'm confident the ramp will be completed in time for an air show," Utley said. "My sense is because of the planning time needed for Rotary to organize the air show, it's unlikely it would be a full-fledged show.”
Rotary organizers are now looking to come back strong next year.
“The committee is actively planning to deliver a 2013 air show that will return this high-class attraction to Brantford,” Kerr said.
The Rotary Brantford Charity Air Show was also cancelled in 2011 due to the crumbling tarmac at the Brantford Municipal Airport.