Provincial grant aiming to benefit small airports

The provincial gov't has earmarked $24 million over the next three years to spend on regional airports

The Ministry of Transportation has lift off with its new B.C. Air Access program – a grant program designed to benefit the province’s many small air traffic hubs, including the Trail Regional Airport.

After public consultations, including a meeting with local stakeholders in Trail in November, the provincial government has laid out plans to invest $24 million over the next three years, or $6 million a year, into regional airports across B.C.

Don Goulard, manager of the Trail airport was at that meeting last fall, and says if the airport were to get a small piece of the $6 million being handed out in 2015, it would be great and he’s keeping his fingers crossed.

“It is a great opportunity and I am certainly optimistic and I think it is fantastic they are investing in airports,” he said.

“However, one of the things to consider, is that $6 million doesn’t go very far. If every airport and helipad in B.C. applied, it would mean each would get $20,000. Hopefully nobody else applies, but I don’t think that is going to happen.”

Goulard was one of many attendees at the public consultation meeting, and from what he saw, airports are increasingly important to residents in the Kootenay Boundary and just months later, the province unveiled its plan. B.C. on the Move and the B.C. Air Access program also published a report on its findings, showing that air transportation is a top priority for 71 per cent of people surveyed in the Kootenays.

“These numbers are supported by other communities like Cranbrook, Nelson and Grand Forks – all around,” he said. “We are kind of out in the middle of nowhere so if you can take off by plane really quickly, it is easy.”

Goulard says local airports are the logical place to spend transportation money. With only a mile of runway, airports get more bang for the government’s buck versus building and maintaining winding roadways through the province.

“While at this meeting, we talked about how expensive it was to build a road – $2 million for a mile or something like that,” he said. “I piped up and asked if they saw anything wrong with this. Airports require one mile of road and they can connect you anywhere. Where should you invest your money if a mile of road just gets you a mile farther up the road, but a mile of runway connects you to the world.”

With or without some extra grant money, airport staff is still on a forward trajectory with airport improvements.

This month, Goulard says that architects and designers will be making their final pitch for a new terminal building, before sending the plan to Trail council for a stamp of approval.

“The offices of McFarlane Biggar and the MMM Group (architects and project managers) are planning on doing their final presentation before mid-month, so we will see how that goes,” he said, adding that the presentation stage doesn’t mean that ground will be breaking anytime soon. “This will be a suggested plan, which we then take to council and they will decide on how to move forward (as the owners of the airport).”

In the meantime, airport staff is also busy making smaller, more immediate upgrades.

“There is always housekeeping to do around here, but we are going to be getting new fuel tanks, which is fantastic and was identified (as an issue),” said Goulard. “We are also going to be getting a new environmental management plan together, which is going to be really awesome moving forward, making sure that we do the right thing here for the environment.”

Just Posted

Photo: Trail Times
Trail RCMP start June by nabbing impaired drivers

Latest brief from the Trail and Greater District police

“This is very costly to replace and it seems that Rossland is getting more and more theft and vandalism happening, which is really unfortunate,” says the commission’s Michelle Fairbanks. Photo: Submitted
Two plaques stolen from Rossland heritage square

The plaques were located at Washington and Columbia by the Olaus statue

No matter your age, the city’s two skate park hosts Jaryd Justice-Moote (left) and Brenden Wright can help you roll into a new pastime this “Summer at the Skatepark.” Photo: City of Trail
Free coaching at the Trail Sk8Park begins next month

The city is rolling into a summer of inclusive recreation by, for… Continue reading

Pastor Tom Kline
‘Why I became a Christian’ with Pastor Tom Kline

That night, a peace came over my heart that has remained from that day to this, 36 years later.

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters block Castlegar’s main street for 24 hours

Members of Extinction Rebellion stayed overnight in downtown Castlegar

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read