Breaking ground at the Trail Regional Airport (YZZ) on Thursday was the culmination of a vision that was over 10 years in the making, says the head of the airport committee.
“It is the product of much advocacy and hard work by a host of very dedicated citizens, city staff and volunteers,” Coun. Kevin Jolly told the Trail Times. “I especially want to thank our Senior Goodwill Ambassadors, Don Nutini and Al Doherty, for their unflinching commitment to making this dream become a reality.”
Investing in the airport marks a strategic shift toward improving access in the West Kootenay, but it is not without risks, Jolly said.
“It required a great deal of political will and confidence in the long-term strategic plan to stay the course in getting to this place where we find ourselves today,” he added. “We simply could not have done this without the commitment and dedication of our partner Pacific Coastal Airlines as well as the significant grant support we received from the provincial government.”
Todd Stone, Transport minister, stood on the YZZ tarmac last June, to announce the City of Trail as a recipient of the BC Air Access program – the $1.18 million grant was the program’s largest investment to date.
The money did come with two caveats; the city had to use the funding specifically for a new terminal, and grant had to be used in just over one year.
The $3 million project is slated for completion in October, and in the meantime, it will be business as usual.
“We look forward to a dynamic process as we endeavor to keep ground operations as close to business as usual during the course of construction,” Jolly confirmed. “We will be sure to keep the flying public apprised of the milestones in construction along the way,” he added.
“Lastly, we want to thank the public in advance for their patience with our progress through the construction process. We believe the final outcome will be well worth the wait.”
A local construction firm, Hil-Tech Contracting Ltd., was awarded a $2.2 million contract in April, to develop the site which is south of the current terminal locale.
The scope of work includes installation of a prefabricated building and interior fittings, development of the surrounding lands, and associated utility hook ups.
The company is well known to the city, additionally, Hil-Tech put forth the lowest of two bids.
“Hil-Tech is a company that does a lot of work in and around the Greater Trail area and employs local residents on their jobs,” Jolly stated in April. “The city has worked with Hil-Tech on many projects over the years and they have a proven track record of performing quality work.”
Project managers are WSP (MMM Group), consultants who have worked with the city on numerous projects including upgrades along Victoria Street and the new library/museum currently under construction.
Thursday’s ground breaking was more an opportunity to signal the start of construction, a major celebration will be planned for later this fall, once the building is open.
“This project is a another major milestone for the City of Trail as we continue to work on key elements that complement the other significant work being undertaken with the Columbia River Skywalk, which saw its grand opening last week, and the Riverfront Centre construction, which is now well underway and taking shape very nicely,” says Mayor Mike Martin.
“The new terminal building at the Trail Regional Airport is an investment for the city’s future and aligns well with council’s goal of creating strong long-term opportunities in support of the growth and sustainability of the region.”
Improved air access to the Lower Columbia is one of the cornerstones of a vibrant community, he said.
“And through a valued partnership with Pacific Coastal Airlines, the Trail Regional Airport has demonstrated success in providing valued reliable, affordable and convenient air access for residents, business, tourists and medical travel,” Martin added.
“The new terminal building will provide improved vehicle and passenger access along with comfortable passenger amenities as they arrive and depart from the airport.”
Martin recognized the work of the Airport Steering Committee that is chaired by Coun. Jolly and includes Coun. Robert Cacchioni as well as Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff and Airport Manager, Robert Baker.
The design and engineering have been completed through the work of Project Manager, Sam Collins of MMM Group, Matthew Stanley of Nelson-based Stanley Office of Architecture, and Scott Wallace of True Consulting Group, a Trail firm.
“We are absolutely delighted to be working with Hil-Tech on the construction of the Airport Terminal Building and look forward to its successful completion later this fall,” Martin concluded. “Until we move into the new terminal, we will continue using the Flying Club facilities and we’d like to thank the club for accommodating the airport needs over the last 11 years.”