Claude Bennett - Annual Public Meeting - May 5, 2004

An allocution by Claude Bennett, Past Chair of the Board


Good afternoon, bonjour.

I’ve been involved in many exciting adventures over the course of my career, but I can’t think of many are more rewarding than what the Airport Authority has accomplished over the past seven years.

When the Airport Authority Board of Directors was first established in 1995, privatization hadn’t yet happened. Over the following two years, a framework was put in place to facilitate making the airport a community-based organization.

From 1997 on, we accomplished what many would consider unbelievable.

First, the U.S. pre-clearance area was created.

Having a pre-clearance facility created opportunities not only for the airport, but for the business community who needed easy access to their markets in the States in order to grow their business, and improve the economic landscape of the region.

We were off to a great start.

The next major activity was the Combined Services Building that provided a much needed home for the airport’s Fire Department, and heavy equipment operation.

The building has won design and construction awards, and really set the stage for the Airport Expansion Program that would see the creation of our new terminal.

And, what can we say about the beautiful new Passenger Terminal Building that opened on budget and six-months ahead of schedule?

It’s something that makes me truly proud; proud to have been a part of it, and proud to live in the community that it serves.

Such accomplishments don’t come together without the dedication of an outstanding team, or without the leadership of an excellent Board of Directors.

In this case, we had both.

I extend my sincere thanks to the entire Airport Authority team who worked tirelessly to make sure that every “i” was dotted and every “t” crossed.

With superior leadership from Paul Benoit, they not only finished the project, but they make sure that the day to day operation at the airport was attended to in a most efficient and responsible manner.

As the project unfolded, one thing stood out that I believe was key to the success of the project, and that was the team’s ability to deal with a multitude of stakeholders, all of whom brought unique requirements to the table.

Whether from the community, the constructors and trades, the government agencies who operate at the airport, or retailers and tenants, the Authority team met the needs and had all stakeholders working together towards the common goal of a seamless transition to the new space.

As you know that transition on Thanksgiving weekend went beautifully thanks to a detailed plan, and the participation of the entire airport family.

I had the privilege of working with a wonderful group of professionals from our community.

All who served on the Board since its inception, provided vision and leadership to the Authority team. I would like to thank each and every Member of the Board, whether past or present, for the dedicated support that they gave every aspect of the airport’s operation from day one.

I would like to express particular appreciation to the members of the Airport Expansion Program Overview Committee who were unwavering in their commitment to the project, and who provided sound direction and counsel to the management and project teams.

From the very beginning, we said that this project was by the community and for the community, and we meant every word.

When you consider the number of local trades and companies that worked on the project, we can definitively call this a community airport.

My term on the Board of Directors is now at an end, but I leave with pride – I’m proud of what we accomplished, and I leave knowing that the airport and the Authority are in good hands for the future.

I wish both the Board, and the Authority’s Management team well, and know that the experience that has been gained through the years will serve the community well in the future.

Thank you, merci.