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South coast airports to receive essential upgrades

South coast airports to receive essential upgrades

March 18, 2021 at 9:44 am  BC, News, Politics

The Province is helping communities bring crucial improvements to regional airports with a boost in funding as part of B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan and B.C. Air Access Program grants.

The $9.28 million will enhance local airport infrastructure with initiatives like upgraded taxi lanes, new airside paving and green building projects.

With severe impacts on travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Province partnered with 27 regional airports and the federal government to develop a co-ordinated approach to support the sector. Servicing critical routes for local air travel, the 27 capital projects are part of a strong path to economic recovery.

“We know the pandemic has caused financial stress for many industries and significantly impacted our aviation sector throughout B.C., including our community airports,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “But we’re also looking to better days ahead, post-pandemic. That’s why we’re taking action to support communities with important infrastructure upgrades so we can boost jobs, tourism and trade that will give us a head start with B.C.’s economic recovery.”

Five airports on the south coast of B.C. will share $3.4 million in funding for upgrades:

  • Bella Bella Airport – $315,000
  • Bella Coola Airport – $563,288
  • Boundary Bay Airport – $580,027
  • Sechelt Airport – $1,348,108
  • Squamish Municipal Airport – $601,615

The B.C. Air Access Program, now in its seventh year, is a cost-share program that provides funding to assist communities with improvements to their airport infrastructure that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to achieve. This can include funds to support safety improvements, increase economic opportunities and address environmental concerns.

“Transportation has always been a challenge for people living on the Sunshine Coast, and this past year has been more difficult than ever,” said Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast. “Helping small airports get a head start on pandemic recovery is the right decision. The Sechelt Airport runway upgrades will help tourists, travellers and businesses on the lower coast get where they need to go safely and help us all succeed as we recover.”

B.C. has more than 300 public airports, heliports and water aerodromes. Through the grant program, government has committed over $32.5 million to 51 airports since 2017. Applicants are assessed based on need, safety, environmental improvements and essential access.  

“Small, regional airports around the province face challenges, and we are grateful to receive dedicated funding to make essential maintenance and improvements possible. This supports our economy and vital access to health services we don’t have locally,” said Darnelda Siegers, mayor of Sechelt.

This funding is in addition to the Province’s recent announcement of $16.5 million for airports that provide medical evacuation services, to help maintain their operations.

Learn More:

For more information on the program and recipients, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/funding-engagement-permits/funding-grants/aviation-infrastructure-funding

StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/

The full list of this year’s grant recipients can be found here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BG_RegionalAirports.pdf

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