Out of $2,650,000 to be raised: fourth stage of airport fundraising at $ 1,746,514

April 15, 2024, 8:10 am
Kevin Weedmark

A digital rendering of the new Moosomin runway once completed.

The fourth stage of fundraising for the Moosomin Airport Expansion has reached two-thirds of its goal in just a few weeks, thanks in part to a massive contribution of $500,000 from IJACK.

Kristjan Hebert has helped organize the fundraising for the airport expansion and says he’s happy with how the fourth stage is going.

“We divided the $10.6 million into four, and it worked out that 25 per cent to each group—the province, local governments, Nutrien, and local businesses and individuals—is $2.65 million,” he said.

“Nutrien was slightly over that, the government is slightly under that, but they’re close. The one we just started working on is the businesses. With Dan’s half million dollars in there and with a couple others that I at least have verbal confirmation from, I’ve got us at about $1.746 million raised from local and private donations, which leaves about $900,000.

“Based on the fact that we’ve just started the private donation run here about two and a half weeks ago, to raise what we have is pretty awesome.

“Hats off to IJACK to lead the way as a local, private company with that kind of a contribution. I think it just shows the roots that entrepreneurs and business owners have in this area and I think it should urge a lot of the larger companies that are in the area to step up and have a good look at what a local, private entrepreneur is doing on this airport and hopefully they maybe match it.”

Hebert said the $500,000 contribution from IJACK makes a huge difference.
“When you’re talking to these local companies, you tell them that there’s lots of donations in the $25,000 range, Celebration Ford donated $50,000, you had Conexus at $100,000 and you had Nutrien at $2.8 million and everyone would kind of migrate to the $25,000 to $100,000 range. So to me now, to kind of say when someone says, ‘What are you thinking we should give?’ we can give an example like, ‘Here are some donations of $25,000, here’s Celebration Ford at $50,000, Conexus at $100,0000 and here’s IJack at $500,000—where do you think you fit in there?’ I think having that range of local donations being $25,000 to $500,000 is huge versus having the goal post being $25,000 to $100,000, and I have no doubt it will encourage some larger donations.”

Target can be met

Hebert said he has no doubt the $2.65 million target for the fourth stage of fundraising can be met.

“We’re at $1.746 million already so no, I don’t have any doubt. The timing is always something you’re a little nervous about on how fast it will come but we’ve had, as I said, a couple in the $200,000 range that have given me verbal commitment and lots of the big companies, we’re still in discussion with—big companies like Brandt, Pattison Ag, Mazergroup, Richardson Pioneer and Rocky Mountain Equipment. They’re all good examples of who we’re in discussions with that I think the airport plays a pretty large role for some of them. They’re big companies in the area, so I’m really comfortable that we’re going to get it raised.

“It’s not just the big donations that matter, though. Every $500 donation really counts. When we went to the towns and the RMs we talked about them contributing $350 per person and that’s how we calculated their numbers. All of those add up. Anything that anybody can do locally, is very important.

“The way we always explain it is that anybody would write a cheque for everything they have if they ever had a child that needed to get on a Sask Air Ambulance to get to Saskatoon in time. No amount would be too much.

“So really, in my mind, this is just prepaying should you ever need it or should you ever have somebody you love need it. We’re a community that cares for each other. Part of the reason we made our donation is because whether it was my child or someone in my family, or someone in your family, I want that air ambulance to be accessible for anybody in our community.”

Strong support from area

Hebert says the success of the entire $10.6 million fundraising effort for the airport expansion project is a testament to the Moosomin area.

“Moosomin and area has always had a pretty good name for finding ways to find success and I do believe that the formation of the Community Builders’ Alliance and the collaboration that’s been created there has just added rocket fuel to the fire. Everybody is starting to see the benefits of working together.

“Also I think we’ve put a stake in the ground for the provincial government that this area is a very important area to the province and to the future. Nutrien understands that. They’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the area in the last decade. So it’s our job to show that that’s going to continue when we want more companies here and more people here.

“Lots of the data you’ve managed to dig up has shown that if you’re in a 75-100 kilometer range, we are as big as Yorkton and as big as Estevan.

“If you look at our location on Highway 1 and our closeness to the border, I don’t see any reason why our goal can’t be to be the next Swift Current—just on the other side of the province.

“But we have to have everybody rowing in the same direction and focused on the big projects that need to be focused on. Then we can pick them off one at a time and move onto the next one and I think that strategy has really paid off in spades here in the last 24 months.”

Two important benefits

He said that to him, both the health care aspect and the economic development of the airport project are important.

“I’ve always spoken on the two different pieces. One is healthcare and I think everyone would spend all of their savings if they had a loved one, specifically a child or a stroke victim, that needed to get to Saskatoon and every minute counts, and having the ability to have the Sask Air Ambulance land here will make a big difference.

“The second piece is the economic side. I deal a lot with entrepreneurs and for entrepreneurs, the one thing that they’re trying to find is time. So what you’ll find in today’s world is that there aren’t a lot of new businesses.

There are second, third and fourth locations of businesses and we want to show the world, but specifically Western Canada and the northern States, that Moosomin is open for business. You can land here and we’d love for you to put your second business here in Moosomin and find a local group to run it for you and be a junior partner.

“That’s what we want and we’re open for business. If we don’t they’ll find other places to go and I think you see that in Estevan and Yorkton that have had some good, funded, private runways in the past, and there’s a pile of planes that get parked in Yorkton instead of getting parked in Regina. So when they land, they’re going into town and they’re looking at what Yorkton has and we want to make Moosomin that place on the map.

“I also think we have a unique place right now with Virden doing what they’re doing with their runway and us being on either sides of the border. The runways are in different directions. It will be a very, very unique place in Canada to be able to land planes in those two communities virtually every day of the year and be able to have access to the services that they offer. I get excited about the next stage of collaboration.”