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West Kootenay Regional Airport secures additional funding for expansion project

The West Kootenay Regional Airport has received an additional $1.6 million for upgrades to the facility’s aviation apron through BC’s Air Access Program. 

Last January, the airport secured $2.35 million to expand the facility through Transport Canada’s Airport Capital Assistance Program.

However, airport manager Maciej Habrych told Castlegar City Council on Tuesday that the price tag attached to the upgrades ended up exceeding the original funding amount, prompting the airport to apply for another $1.6 million at the end of 2023.

Habrych explained that the expansion will see the current aviation apron extended towards the runway, allowing multiple Q400 aircraft to operate while also allowing enough space behind the apron for other aircraft to pass through.

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“For example, if the fire center is operating, it allows them to vacate the runway by that apron and go to a taxiway, whereas now they don’t have that option. So it just creates more efficiency and capacity for simultaneous operations, which we don’t have right now.”

The airport received the largest chunk of this year’s $11 million provincial investment to support 26 upgrades at 24 airports throughout BC.

The facility is currently preparing to remove fuel tanks to allow for construction of the expansion to begin, which Habrych said should start this summer.

Airports in Trail and Creston also received funds through the BC Air Access Program, with Trail securing $19,747 to cut off treetops around the airport to improve safety, and $35,000 allocated to Creston to develop an airport master plan.

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