Mayor Lisa Pasin says showcasing the Trail Regional Airport for the country’s Defence Minister last week was an opportunity to highlight how communities throughout the Kootenay Boundary are reaping the rewards that came to fruition only because of significant federal and provincial funding.
“The Trail Regional Airport provides many benefits including improved access for economic development, tourism, medevac services to support our Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and refueling of aircraft during forest fire season,” Pasin told the Trail Times.
“We were also able to discuss the importance of grant funding for smaller communities, as improvements of this magnitude are challenging without the support of federally and provincially funded grant programs,” she said.
The mayor and Coun. Paul Butler joined staff from the city and Pacific Coastal Airlines in taking Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, on a mid-week tour that featured the completion of two federally funded ACAP (Airport Capital Improvement Program) safety upgrades. Those being the rehabilitation of the airside pavement and the recent purchase of a runway condition reporting system. Minister Sajjan was in town on behalf of Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.
“The Trail Regional Airport is an important hub for residents, businesses and tourists in the West Kootenay region,” Minister Sajjan said in an Aug. 28 release. “This investment will help ensure continued safe and reliable operations for aircraft, passengers and flight crews, while supporting tourism and social and economic development in the region.”
The city was awarded a $4.4 million ACAP grant a few years ago to rehabilitate the existing airfield pavements including removing and replacing the asphalt pavements on the runway, the taxiway and the main apron as well as widening the taxiway.
“The project resulted in marked improvements to basic runway infrastructure as well as longer declared distances which are a benefit in summer when air is thinner,” Pasin explained.
The second project highlighted was the runway condition reporting system which was recently installed using a $21,200 ACAP grant.
“The system is called the Tradewind Tracer Runway Friction System,” said Pasin. “And this equipment greatly improves the quality of friction testing provided during winter months while ensuring compliance with aviation regulations.
Additionally, we were able to highlight the new Airport Terminal construction, which was completed in 2017.”
The new terminal was completed using $1.18 million in provincial funding, with the city funding the remaining $2.2 million.
To date, the Trail Regional Airport has received more than $4.8 million in ACAP funding for four safety projects, including the rehabilitation of airside pavement; the purchase of a runway condition reporting system; and the replacement of a snowplow truck and runway sweeper.