The Norman Stibbs Airfield on the Kootenay Lake waterfront is owned and run by the City of Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson airport repair will have big price-tag

Fixing runway could cost $1M

City managers have told council that repairs to Nelson’s airport runway could cost more than $1 million.

That’s if a complete re-paving job is needed.

If all it needs is localized repair of depressions in the runway surface, the cost would be about $161,000 – but that’s still an amount larger than the city’s airport reserve budget.

Staff presented these numbers at council’s Oct. 21 meeting.

The city, which owns and runs the airport, received an aviation consultant’s report in September that said the airport is poorly maintained and hazardous, with depressions in the paved runway surface and deficiencies in maintenance, signage, obstacle marking, data collection, training, and long-term planning.

Related: Expert report highlights safety issues at Nelson airport

“The cost is a bit of a shot in the dark at the moment,” Mayor John Dooley told the Star. “We need an analysis to see what’s necessary down there. It might be simple, it might be complicated.”

Council voted to undertake such an analysis.

They will commission a technical study that will follow an official federal government process for assessing and repairing airport pavement.

Council decided not to do any repair work until the assessment report is received and in the meantime the city will issue a written notification to pilots that advises them of the runway depressions.

After the assessment is complete, a full repair cost estimate will be presented to council to be considered for next year’s budget.

It is uncertain what repairing the runway surface will involve because there is a garbage dump under the airport. Closed down and buried in the 1970s, it contains everything from residential and industrial waste to old car bodies.

The Star asked Dooley whether the potential expense of the repairs might tip the balance on the question of whether the airport is needed at all.

“The options and alternatives are not very good at this stage for doing something other than what’s there,” he said, adding that the city’s ongoing difficulty in getting the neighbouring transfer station land rehabilitated is an indicator of the complexity of re-purposing land built on a garbage dump.

Asked if the airport could do its medical evacuation, wilderness access, and wildfire fighting functions with a helipad rather than a full runway, Dooley said “Yes a lot of it probably could, but at the same time, the way it appears at the moment, we are not looking at anything different on that site for the next five years. You can’t just abandon it, there is a need. But that is a bigger conversation for sure.”

Related: Promised park at Nelson recycle depot site still a long way off



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nelson skateboarders charged with assaulting Trail police officer

Incident happened at the skate park in Trail

Warfield pool a no go this summer

Pool operations not feasible this summer because of coronavirus

Trail bakery open for business

Precautions are in place at The Pastry Shoppe

Trail senior pens pandemic poem

Margaret Browne wrote ‘Ode To A Bug’

City of Rossland introduces new fees for some permits and services

City adopted bylaw to introduce the fees on June 1

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

How to safely drink water in areas impacted by flooding

Quality and safety of drinking water can be affected during and after floods

Most Read