Provincial funding lands at airport

City closing in on $4M in federal and provincial funding over the last month

Improvements to the Dawson Creek Regional Airport are already underway, but it's never too late for the provincial government to help with the cost. 

Christy Clark’s caucus has chipped in $82,311.

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With workers installing a new roof above their heads, South Peace MLA Mike Bernier, Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead and Airport Manager Ian Darling gathered in the terminal building Tuesday afternoon for the announcement.

Three projects will be completed with the funding, including $52,961 to fix the leaky terminal roof.

A CCTV surveillance system will also be put in place at a price tag of $19,149. The airport hopes the cameras will help deter break-ins and vandalism.

The third project will be replacing the airport’s secure key control access system including replacements of replacing card readers, key fobs, padlocks and door controllers. This $10,201 project was identified by Transport Canada as a need for the airport, Darling said. 

“We have millions of dollars worth of investment sitting on the [tarmac], and vehicles parked in the [parking lot] and no real way of securing that,” he said.

“I’m really happy the provincial government has recognized the great need for investing in transportation in general, but [especially] investing in airports.”

When Bernier, a former mayor of Dawson Creek, was first elected to council in the city, one of the first jobs he was given was to be part of the Airport Advisory Committee, he said. 

“It was all about how we make this airport sustainable and try to grow it,” Bernier said. “This airport is important not only to Dawson Creek, but to the region.”

Bernier noted that the airport is used extensively for corporate flights and fixed-wing air ambulance transports, as well as commercial flights by Hawkair to Vancouver and Terrace-Kitimat. 

According to BC Emergency Health Services, the airport was used for 233 air ambulance transports last year, and 261 in 2013.

The money comes from the province’s B.C. Air Access Program, part of the B.C. on the Move transportation plan. The program will distribute $24 million over three years to airports across the province.

Bumstead said the city had planned to spend $160,000 in its capital budget plan for improvements to the airport and was working to find that funding. 

“With this announcement, half of that is now going to be taken care of by the provincial government,” Bumstead said. 

“[It] reduces the burden to the taxpayers and the city, and allows us to improve the services and core infrastructure of our community.”

The city is closing in on nearly $4 million in federal and provincial government grant money over the last month, Bumstead added.

“It’s amazing what that allows you to do as a city."

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