Cold Lake seeks to understand future plans for AETE

December 6, 2018
For immediate release

Cold Lake seeks to understand future plans for AETE

Cold Lake, AB – The City of Cold Lake is working to understand recent comments surrounding the future of the Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE) on CFB Cold Lake.

“We have heard comments from the federal government and the official opposition in regards to the future of AETE and, while we do not have all the answers, we are working to understand the situation and any potential impacts,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “Up to this point, the federal government has not reached out to us on this matter and, as far as we know, our local representatives have not been briefed on the situation.”

A recent economic impact study commissioned by the Northeast Alberta HUB noted that AETE, which is located on CFB Cold Lake, brings approximately 165 military and reservist jobs and 22 civilian jobs to the area.

“When you hear the number of high-paying jobs that could be at stake in a community of our size, it is concerning, but our first order of business has to be to collect all of the information we can,” Copeland said. “Because the military base is in our community, decisions made in Ottawa can have a big impact here: We are already engaged in a drawn out dispute with the federal government over its Payment in Lieu of Taxes, which is costing the residents of our community a significant amount of tax revenue.”

The City of Cold Lake has contested the Payment in Lieu of Taxes – or PILT – which the federal government pays to the city for the military base. Since 2012, the city has maintained that the federal government has shorted PILT payments to the city by about $1.8 million a year. In 2015 the City of Cold Lake won a decision at the PILT Dispute Advisory Panel in regards to the 2012 tax payment, but the federal government continues to dispute its payments for 2013 onward.

“With a deep and prolonged downturn in the surrounding oil patch, plus the Province of Alberta’s decision to take about $10 million a year from the city’s air weapons range agreement, and then our ongoing dispute with the federal government over PILT, our city is in serious need of some good economic news,” Copeland said.

The City of Cold Lake maintains a strong working relationship with CFB Cold Lake and 4 Wing, and partners with 4 Wing on a wide variety of community projects.

“We are the proud home of CFB Cold Lake and 4 Wing and we have a great relationship with the local men and women who are stationed here and are serving our country,” Copeland said. “We continue to work with 4 Wing on important issues, such as bringing CATSA-screened, commercial air flights to the community, and in supporting the bi-annual air show program. The decisions we need to look into are being made in Ottawa, and so that’s where we will turn to for answers.”

- 30 -

Thursday, December 6, 2018