Please vote wisely on Saturday

"I have to wonder about the wisdom behind the plans to create and operate a commercial airport at Waneta."

Hopefully, most citizens of Trail are spending time trying to make their upcoming vote in the Trail election an informed one.  Below is a link that describes the major projects by the City of Trail that are either currently underway, or are being proposed.

One major issue missing on this page is the reconstruction of positive relationships with surrounding communities, but I suppose it doesn’t fit Council’s definition of a project.

I have to wonder about the wisdom behind the plans to create and operate a commercial airport at Waneta.  First and foremost, the citizens of this West Kootenay valley already have a regional airport.   It is not so busy that we need a second one.

The airport in Castlegar is 29.7 km from the Trail Regional Hospital and the Waneta airport is 11.3 km from the Trail Regional Hospital. I mention this because proximity for emergencies seems to be the best excuse for developing the Waneta airport.   For a savings of 18.4 Km or 12 minutes less in an ambulance, is it really worth it to develop the Waneta airport into one that can and will compete with the one in Castlegar?  Is this even a wise thing to do?  The number of commercial flights in and out of the West Kootenays isn’t going to change, so whatever financial benefits the City of Trail hopes to gain are definitely going to be offset by a reduction of revenues at the Castlegar airport.

How is the City of Trail’s ambition to create a second airport any wiser than the City of Castlegar’s past ambition to have their own hospital?  Why can’t all of us in this valley support and improve what we already have?…….a regional airport in Castlegar, and a Regional Hospital in Trail.  Such a concept would be co-operative instead of parochial, synergistic instead of counter-productive, community-minded instead of insular, and a betterment for all of us instead of a redundancy for all of us.  It’s called working together for the common good.

Whatever money the City of Trail has in mind to develop the Waneta airport (including the $1.6 million already spent) can be spent much more wisely on so many other necessary betterments. For example, why not work proactively with current and prospective entrepreneurs to giving downtown some class and ambiance?

The goal of course would be to make downtown a desirable place for both the citizens of the area and for tourists that have been non-existent for decades now.  Trail needs to be put back on the map.  Trail needs to re-earn it’s reputation of being the Home of Champions…….and not just in sports.  Let’s put that airport time, energy, and money into eliminating some of downtown’s dilapidated and condemned eye-sores of buildings to make room for some badly needed business enterprises.

I live in Genelle now but If I could vote in the Trail election,  I would look for someone who thought considerably more broadly than the boundaries of the city of Trail, and for someone who could lead the citizens of Trail and the rest of us to work together in taking advantage of this beautiful river valley, with a vision to making it a more desirable place to live in, and proud to be from.

Even going so far as amalgamation makes a great deal of sense if good leadership could be trusted to prevail.

Russ BabcockGenelle

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