Students' Study of Local Airport Leads to New Land Development Potential

Township of Langley

The Challenge: Infrastructure and Taxes

Efficient municipal infrastructure is often at the core of many business location decisions. Municipalities across Canada face the challenge of providing infrastructure assets while maintaining competitive taxation levies. Often the two do not meet. Offering both traditional and new services in the community – without the need for tax increases – while supporting the needs of current and future residents and businesses is a significant stewardship issue.

How can municipalities better leverage other funding streams, such as grants and external funding partnerships, to fund these ongoing and expanding needs?

Kwantlen students with Langley Mayor

The Solution: Learning to Fly

Students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) were tasked with identifying alternate funding opportunities, and in the process of their work, they went above and beyond in the commitment to this project. Approximately 30 students worked for a six-week period and completed extensive background research on the municipality and the airport. They conducted interviews with the airport manager, participated in on-site tours of the Langley Regional Airport, and reached out to the business sector to connect with potential investors. Findings were presented to the Township of Langley’s mayor and council as well as its senior management team.

The Benefits: Future Options

  • As the airport has a self-sustaining funding model, there may be viable options to install the municipal utility services on these underdeveloped lands.
  • This in turn would allow lands to be developed with buildings, etc., and grow this rotary-wing aviation hub in the community.

The Outcomes: The Ripple Effect

  • Private investor organizations are now contacting the Langley Regional Airport to discuss investment opportunities.
  • The partnership with KPU has triggered a new project collaboration with the university.
  • The Township’s deputy director of finance is in discussions with KPU’s lead to establish the next finance student cohort, which will look deeper into the works and findings of the initial student group.
  • The deputy director of finance has noted the potential to look at other funding structures, such as incorporations, etc., that could provide viable alternatives and additions to traditional MFA funding.

Lessons Learned

  • Be willing to consider alternative means to help grow sectors.

December 8, 2017