Pharmasave donates $100,000 to Moosomin Airport Expansion

April 18, 2024, 11:20 am
Kevin Weedmark

Darcy Rambold of Moosomin Pharmasave is donating $100,000 to the Moosomin Airport Expansion project. From left are Jeff St. Onge of the Airport Fundraising Committee, RM of Moosomin CAO Kendra Lawrence, Darcy Rambold of Moosomin Pharmasave, and Dr. Van of the Airport Fundraising Committee.

Darcy Rambold of Moosomin Pharmasave is donating $100,000 to the Moosomin Airport Expansion project.

“Jeff St. Onge and Dr. Van sold me when they came and did their presentation to the Chamber of Commerce about the airport and the air ambulance,” Rambold said.

“That’s the big selling feature for me, what the air ambulance could do for our community.”

He said he believes the airport expansion, providing the Saskatchewan Air Ambulance with access to Moosomin, will be a lifesaver.

“It’s going to save lives, there’s no doubt about it, and with the added benefits of the airport for business and tourism and recreation, it multiplies, there are many ways it’s going to benefit our community. I think it’s going to help us grow.

“The big thing though is the medical system. It’s going to help put our medical services on the map, and save lives.

“With the access to the stroke centre in Saskatoon, if somebody has a stroke, they’ll have a much better chance of not just surviving, but getting back to a normal way of life. The STARS ambulance has been a huge boost to our medical system here but the Air Ambulance will multiply many more times over.”

Rambold says it feels great to be able to help with a project like the airport expansion.

“I’ve always been glad to contribute. I’ve been successful in this community due to the people in the community who have supported me, and I’m just glad to give back.”

‘No one wins alone’
Dr. Schalk Van Der Merwe says he’s happy to see the significant donations coming in for the airport expansion.

“I’ve actually been thinking about how you articulate something like this. I read a book by Mark Messier that’s called ‘No one wins alone,’ and I think that this describes this project and a lot of other things that are going on in this community. In a community where everyone comes together, everybody wins. No one can win alone. You can’t do it all by yourself. Without generous support from people like Darcy this project would never be where it is. If you look at the 15 municipalities who are supporting this, and so many private businesses, and Darcy, it’s incredible to see how it ties the community together,” Dr. Van concluded.

Working together
“There’s nothing that brings people together like working on something together,” added Rambold. “Everyone’s working together on the airport, and I’ve seen the difference that can make. I came back here to work in 1992 and I’ve seen the changes that have happened in Moosomin and it’s been incredible. A lot of it has hinged around that new hospital. Everything has pretty much revolved around it. When the government looks at spending money on stuff like that, they’ve got to look at more than just the healthcare. They have to look at the benefits it’s giving to the community. It’s just incredible the changes that facility has made in town here.”

Dr. Van said despite the scale of the airport project, he never doubted the community would make it happen. “I never had any doubt,” he said. “It’s a big commitment and it’s a lot of money, so you’re always kind of wondering are we really going to be able to do this. But this project just took off and almost took on a life of its own.

“This whole project started with Jeff (St. Onge) and I having a conversation, ‘Can we put some lights on the airport?’ That’s how this started. Jeff said, ‘We still don’t have lights but we do have an airport.’ It’s just been an incredible experience to be a part of something like this. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something like this? You can’t help but smile when something like this happens and when it comes to fruition, everyone benefits. There’s no better feeling.”

The call for tenders for the airport pavement is now open. Tenders close April 24 and the requested date of completion of the paving in the tender documents is September 15.

September 15 is the requested date of completion.

The new runway will be the third longest in the province at 5,000 feet.

“Lots of times we get the question, ‘Why did you build it 5,000 feet?’” says Dr. Van. “We built it like that because that’s what the pilots that we surveyed requested—the pilots who fly for the air ambulance and that fly for the big companies, because that’s what they need to put those big jets down, and to put the air ambulance down safely and get off the runway safely. So that’s why it’s 5,000 feet. So for us, our next big push is for electrical. If we can get paving and electrical done by the fall then it’s operational.”

Fifteen municipalities are helping fund the airport project, along with the provincial government, Nutrien, and local businesses and individuals.

“None of this would have been possible without the towns and RM giving their support and then the RM of Moosomin taking on the bulk of the responsibility,” said Dr. Van. “Without the RMs’ and the towns’ support, this project wouldn’t be happening they were the first ones who were like, ‘Yup, this is going,’ and even when we went back to them and said, ‘Look, this is how much the cost has escalated.’ They were like, ‘Yup, tell us how much you need,’ and the commitments started rolling in the next day.

“There’s been incredible support—like unbelievable. I’m just blown away but that’s the Saskatchewan way. This province was built by people supporting each other and supporting their neighbors. That’s the way this province was built, and is still being built and will continue being built. If we don’t look after each other nobody else will and that’s just the way things should be done.”