City of Trail hopes to land grants for airport improvements

The city is eligible for full funding of first priority projects since Trail falls into the least scheduled passenger category.

The city’s new acquisition, the Trail Regional Airport, lands over 20,000 passengers each year.

That number upgrades Trail from business to first class opportunities for federal money to pay for airport improvements.

The Airport Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) is available to any Canadian airport that is not federally owned or operated, meets certification requirements, and offers year-round regularly scheduled commercial passenger service.

Depending on the number of passengers accessing the service annually, each eligible airport can qualify for up to 100 per cent funding on projects that Transport Canada rates in priority.

Because Trail falls into the least scheduled passenger category, 1,000 to 49,999, the city is eligible for full funding of first priority projects.

Meaning, any safety-related airside improvements such as runway rehabilitation, visual aids and aircraft firefighting equipment required by regulation, can be 100 per cent paid for through the Transport Canada program.

“At this time the runway is the main priority,” said David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer, adding, “the city will be completing an inventory to determine what further ACAP assistance we may apply for in the future with respect to equipment.”

The regional district, the airstrip’s owner until six months ago (Feb. 15), received ACAP funding for a snowplow and runway sweeper, both of which were transferred to the city with the sale of the airport.

“We are still making efforts to improve all airside machinery and safety equipment through ACAP,” explained Perehudoff. “And will keep the public informed as we progress through the various stages of the program.”

He said there isn’t a cap for the airstrip’s improvement projects, but limited federal money has each airport competing for available funding.

Don Goulard, manager of the Trail Regional Airport, attended Monday’s governance meeting to brief council with an operations report.

He noted that Internet service problems have been eliminated with the installation of fibre-optics, the “dip” in the north end stopway was ground-down and new asphalt applied, and “windsocks” now meet required specifications.

“In response to discussions with Transport Canada, all runway, stopway, taxiway and apron markings have been correctly re-painted to ensure compliance,” Goulard confirmed.

Additionally, the Request for Proposal (RFP) issued in June that seeks a firm to develop engineering and architectural plans for a new airport terminal has been “well received,” he said, with more than one dozen firms attending onsite meetings in July and August.

Deadline for the RFP is Sept. 12, however construction of a new terminal cannot be funded through the federal assistance program.