Type of entity
Authorized form of name
City of Edmonton. Edmonton Municipal Airport
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Dates of existence
On June 16, 1926 Edmonton's airport become the first licensed municipal airport in Canada. Upon its establishment the airport was the responsibility of the Engineer's Department. A short-lived and ill-fated experiment occurred in 1927 when the City leased the land to farmer Mary Watt, who was expected to clear the brush, graze animals and raise hay on the land while maintaining it as an air field. When this project failed the Engineering Department retook control of the airfield.
In 1929 the newly incorporated Edmonton and Northern Alberta Aero Club was given responsibility for the airport. A Council Report that year recommended that since the airport was owned by the City a municipal official should be placed in charge. As a result, the Finance Committee appointed James "Jimmy" Bell airport manager on February 5, 1930. A former WWI bomber pilot and active member of the Aero Club, Bell would be a fixture at the airport until his retirement in 1962. For the first few years Bell was responsible for maintaining the hangar and field, while the Aero Club continued the field operations. Airport construction was done by staff of the Engineer's Department.
In 1940, as a result of the airfield's important role in the war effort, the Federal Government took over operations of the Edmonton Municipal Airport. This lasted until November 1, 1946, at which point control of the airport was transferred back to the Engineer's Department.
In 1947 James Bell became Superintendent of the Airport, presumably making the airport a separate department. This is confirmed by the functional organizational charts of the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1950s and 1960s the airport superintendent supervised all construction, maintenance and operational activity associated with the airport. He supervised a staff of around twenty, which included clerks, maintenance workers, fieldmen, watchmen, electricians, and janitors.
In 1965 the Edmonton Municipal Airport returned to the control of the Engineer's Department for budgetary reasons, however this was short-lived, and on December 29, 1967 the airport became independent once more when a Bylaw to regulate the operation of the Edmonton Industrial Airport (No. 3092) was passed.
In 1971, as part of a departmental reorganization, the responsibility for the airport was given to the newly formed Engineering and Transportation Department.
On April 1, 1996 the Edmonton Municipal Airport was transferred to the Edmonton Regional Airports Authority under a 56 year lease.
Functions, occupations and activities
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City of Edmonton Archives
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