Provincial Airport Funding Won’t Land at YXS
Prince George, B.C. – $24 million in provincial funding over the next three years won’t be landing at YXS.
Instead the money will be benefiting airports in smaller communities like Fort St. John, Smithers, Terrace and Quesnel as part of the Province’s new 10-year transportation plan.
“Through the B.C. Air Access Program, the ministry will cost share with public airports on projects such as lighting and navigational systems, terminal building expansion or upgrades, and runway improvements,” reads a government news release.
The money ($6 million in 2015) will flow through B.C.’s Air Access Program and communities have until June 22, 2015 to apply.
It has caught the eye of Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson who notes “we’re actually looking at it. By happenstance, we’re just completing an airport business plan and we also had a private sector development plan come forward for the airport,” he says. “So we may be able to partner with them for an oversized hangar that would allow us to overnight some of the Central Mountain Air flights.”
But he says the City will also need to consider the funding criteria.
“In most cases, this is not free money, in that they will underwrite 100% of the costs. It does require a contribution from the local taxpayers,” says Simpson.
“If they (Victoria) were really interested in regional airports and making them viable, then they would engage with us in a meaningful way to underwrite the costs of running those airports because the Quesnel Airport has lost money since the City was forced to take it over from the federal government. Our taxpayers are subsidizing that airport.”
Despite those challenges, he says either by the end of this week or early next week “we should be in a position to decide on some projects we might be able to throw in there without upsetting our own capital plans for our community.”
Manager of Marketing and Communications with the Prince George Airport Authority Lindsay Cotter says YXS benefits indirectly when smaller airports expand through “any increases in aviation activity,” and adds “Even the port and road improvements will benefit us, as more access generates more business and business generates jobs and people with jobs travel.”