The Province is helping communities bring crucial improvements to regional airports with a boost in funding as part of B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan and B.C. Air Access Program grants.
The $9.28 million will enhance local airport infrastructure with initiatives like upgraded taxi lanes, new airside paving and green building projects.
With severe impacts on travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Province partnered with 27 regional airports and the federal government to develop a co-ordinated approach to support the sector. Servicing critical routes for local air travel, the 27 capital projects are part of a strong path to economic recovery.
“We know the pandemic has caused financial stress for many industries and significantly impacted our aviation sector throughout B.C., including our community airports,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “But we’re also looking to better days ahead, post-pandemic. That’s why we’re taking action to support communities with important infrastructure upgrades so we can boost jobs, tourism and trade that will give us a head start with B.C.’s economic recovery.”
Four airports in the Kootenays will share $618,835 in funding for upgrades:
- Fairmont Hot Springs Airport – $19,415
- Nelson (Norman Stibbs) Airport – $159,420
- Trail Regional Airport – $65,000
- West Kootenay Regional Airport – $375,000
The B.C. Air Access Program, now in its seventh year, is a cost-share program that provides funding to assist communities with improvements to their airport infrastructure that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to achieve. This can include funds to support safety improvements, increase economic opportunities and address environmental concerns.
“Nelson’s Norman Stibbs Airfield plays a critical role in regional medical evacuation and wildfire response, as well as provides locals and tourists with access to the wilderness, which contributes to our local tourism businesses,” said Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston. “The City of Nelson has been working hard to ensure the airfield is able to operate in a safe and reliable way and it's good to see that work being supported.”
B.C. has more than 300 public airports, heliports and water aerodromes. Through the grant program, government has committed over $32.5 million to 51 airports since 2017. Applicants are assessed based on need, safety, environmental improvements and essential access.
“Despite the challenges of this past year, we are pleased to have completed the automated weather observation system installation at the Trail Regional Airport with the funding from the BC Air Access Program,” said Lisa Pasin, mayor, City of Trail. “This upgrade at our air facility will enhance overall reliability with its real-time weather reporting technology. This will also benefit our community greatly as we move toward the economic recovery we’re all counting on.”
This funding is in addition to the Province’s recent announcement of $16.5 million for airports that provide medical evacuation services, to help maintain their operations.
For more information on the program and recipients, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/funding-engagement-permits/funding-grants/aviation-infrastructure-funding
StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/
The full list of this year’s grant recipients can be found here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BG_RegionalAirports.pdf