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.
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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.”
Two airports on Vancouver Island will share $590,471 in funding for upgrades:
• Courtenay Airpark – $159,446
• Long Beach Airport (Tofino) – $431,025
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.
“This funding support makes a real difference in communities, especially after a year like 2020,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “The Courtenay Airpark is a favourite for people out enjoying a walk and wanting to see small aircraft up close. These repairs will help make sure everyone in the air and on the ground is able to enjoy the experience safely.”
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.
“Our regional airports keep us interconnected, and supporting these facilities helps our communities to thrive, especially at a time when we are all facing so many challenges,” said John Jack, chair, Alberni‐Clayoquot Regional District Board of Directors. “We are glad to share in this collaborative approach to make sure we have the resources we all need for safe travel.”
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. ■
A rather strung-out omega block pattern will feature an upper low moving into Southern California with another just offshore New England while an upper high meanders over southern central Canada into the northern Plains.