POLITICS

Nova Scotia looks into moving Waterville airport for Michelin expansion

05/01/2012 12:03 EDT | Updated 07/01/2012 05:12 EDT
WATERVILLE, N.S. - A $100,000 study will examine moving a Nova Scotia airport to make way for the potential expansion of the Michelin tire plant in the Annapolis Valley, Premier Darrell Dexter said Tuesday.

Dexter said the study, expected to be completed by the end of the summer, will look into the relocation of the Waterville airport.

He said the province wanted to create the proper conditions for an expansion of the 30-year-old tire plant should it occur.

"It's up to governments to ensure that if there are opportunities for economic development that they are in fact able to accommodate them," he said.

Dexter defended the expenditure in a time of government fiscal restraint saying it was the type of work being done by other jurisdictions to attract and maintain business.

"It would be no different than for example, productivity incentive programs," said Dexter. "If there is the opportunity for something to happen you want to be able to facilitate it."

He cited the example of South Carolina, where he said work by the state eventually led to Michelin expanding its operations.

Dexter said the company did not ask for the study, nor had it indicated than an expansion in Waterville is imminent.

Michelin employs about 3,500 people in Nova Scotia, including 1,200 at the Waterville plant.

The airport has a 1,066-metre asphalt runway that mainly serves small aircraft.