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.”
Seven airports in the Thompson-Okanagan and Cariboo Chilcotin regions will share $1.2 million in funding for upgrades:
- Anahim Lake Airport – $22,500
- Lillooet Airport – $132,750
- Oliver Airport – $56,100
- Princeton Regional Airport – $181,658
- Quesnel Regional Airport – $336,487
- Valemount Airport – $26,719
- Williams Lake Regional Airport – $393,000
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.
“It’s been a difficult year for tourism-related businesses and it’s important that when people are able to travel again, the infrastructure is there to support them,” said Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development and MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “Building on the recently announced expansion for the Osoyoos airport in the South Okanagan, a runway extension at the Oliver Airport and airside lighting at the Princeton airport will increase their capacity so that the whole region is ready to welcome back eager tourists, expand and create new business operations, and really thrive as part of our pandemic recovery.”
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.
“Receiving funding for our air facilities means we can look forward to making the important upgrades that will get our community moving again,” said Walt Cobb, mayor, Williams Lake. “This has been a hard year, and rural areas have felt the deep impact of restrictions, but support like this helps to bring us closer to economic recovery and get us all back on our feet.”
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