The truth about the airport | Letter to the editor

We are concerned about the unsubstantiated rumors that have been circulating around the island that have no basis in fact.

The principal one being that tax money is being wasted to supply a playground for a few local pilots.

NOT TRUE.

Local pilots’ use of the airport amounts to 10 to 15 percent of operations. The majority of airport use is for off-island general aviation, commercial, passenger, freight and charter operations.

In addition Northwest Med Flight uses the airport frequently, especially in inclement weather when visibility or weather prevents helicopter landing at the Clinic.

The clinic makes daily use of the airport for transporting supplies and blood screening specimens. In addition, local businesses depend on customers, freight, goods and services daily which provide jobs and economy to the Island.

It is absolutely vital to maintain an FAA approved airport. Without a well maintained airport, many of these operations would not be possible.

It is noteworthy that in the clinic emergency room there is a list posted of six local pilots who make available their free time and airplanes for emergency transportation of stricken Islanders.

In addition, several of our local pilots transport people off-Island each week who cannot reasonably take the ferry.

While we agree that a large number of people think that the port should take over solid waste operations, we strongly advise that a strict delineation between airport usage funds and solid waste operations always be maintained for sound accounting principles and for FAA and State funding opportunities.

The airport must be maintained for times of disaster relief.

Bob Porter and Larry Hendel

Former Port Commissioners

Lopez Island