Funding for three West Kootenay airports will help ensure they can provide essential services to rural communities.
The West Kootenay Regional Airport in Castlegar will receive $720,000, the Trail Regional Airport $180,000 and the Nakusp Airport $13,000 from the B.C. government to maintain services during the pandemic.
The funding is a one-time provincial operating grant to support ongoing essential medevac and passenger service operations of the airports.
“The Trail Regional Airport is a vital facility in our community,” said Mayor Lisa Pasin. “Although essential medevac and travel operations have continued throughout the pandemic, we saw a significant reduction in revenue over the last year as a result of the COVID-19 travel restrictions. The province’s grant funding will greatly assist in ensuring the continued operations and services of the airport, especially those services related to the necessary medevac operations.”
Quarterly reporting to the ministry is a requirement to fulfill the agreement with a final report due by April 12, 2022.
“We are thankful for this opportunity,” said Pasin. “We will provide all the necessary documents and data to ensure receipt of the funding. And, as always, we will continue to operate the airport with a high level of standard despite the current pandemic challenges.”
The NDP government announced one-time investments earlier this week, including $6.2M to various inter-city bus operators and $16.5M for regional airports, to support operations between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.
Inter-city bus operators and regional airports will use the funds to pay for operating costs, like maintenance expenses for buses, air terminals and runways; as well as for payroll, rent and other overhead costs that keep these services operating.
“People who work in or rely on community airports know how difficult this past year has been,” Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy said March 25. “We’re making sure that people across the Kootenay West riding will still have access to the services they need and jobs they and their families rely on by supporting local airports.”
Conroy says funding for Kootenay West airports will help them stay open so people can travel for essential purposes and access the services they need.
City of Trail