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New runway expected to draw pilots to the South Cariboo Regional Airport

Kelly Sinoski’s column to the Free Press

The combination of a new runway at the South Cariboo Regional Airport and the Eatery restaurant next door is expected to turn 108 Mile Ranch into a destination stop for pilots.

Airport manager Ross Donahue said he anticipates more pilots will fly to the area, especially in summer, for destination day trips or stop to fuel up on their way to Alaska.

“That’s a big draw, having the restaurant at the airport,” he said. “We get calls from people asking ‘is there any place to eat?’ I think we’ll get more traffic for sure. They can sit on the deck and have a hamburger and they’re right beside their airplane. That will become a thing.”

After some delays, the new runway is set to be completed at the end of the week, Donahue said. Workers earlier this week were tearing down the asphalt plant at the end of the runway, as well as finishing lighting upgrades and painting the lines. Once complete, the new runway will provide the airport with a better rating for heavier, or bigger, planes.

“The old pavement was getting pretty soft,” Donahue said.

The $6.5-million project had been in the works for the past 15 years. The runway was last repaved 30 years ago.

RCA plans

Vintage Christmas

The 108 Ranch Community Association (RCA) is planning a three-day Vintage Christmas Village celebration for Dec. 1-3.

RCA president Michele Spence said the board is “super excited” about the event, which will feature a full slate of activities - from music to gingerbread decorating and a juried selection of 15 vendors selling handmade Christmas crafts. Vendor applications will be posted on the 108 RCA Facebook page or its Vintage Christmas Village website shortly. Those interested should keep an eye out.

The event kicks off on Friday, Dec. 1 with an open house and Christmas tree light-up, tentatively set for 6:30 p.m. and potentially a parade with the 108 ATV group. Northwind Electric, an event sponsor, will provide the lights and installation for the tree and the hall’s exterior. The RCA is inviting the public to help decorate the inside of the hall, at a time yet to be set.

The board is looking at getting local choirs – from an elementary school, Peter Skene Ogden Secondary and the community – to sing on the different days, as well as a performing arts group to put on a mini-theatre production Saturday evening.

There will also be outdoor activities for the kids, such as a toboggan hill – if the weather cooperates - as well as an indoor gingerbread decorating and best Christmas cookie competitions for all ages.

“This is meant to be the start of fundraising efforts for the rejuvenation of the hall,” Spence said.

The RCA has a long list of capital projects needed to maintain the hall. This includes a new roof, repairs to the outdoor building envelope and septic issues.

Harvest festival

this weekend

A Harvest Family Fair will kick off at the 108 Mile Heritage Site this Saturday, Oct. 28.

The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will celebrate Halloween, with prizes for children and adult costumes, a Halloween-themed cake decorating contest and colouring contests. Participants can even get their pets involved with a pet parade.

Speaking of the Heritage Site, the Nov. 18 ghost tour has been cancelled due to weather. The last tour was chillingly cold.

Community hall

Discussions are continuing between the 108 RCA and the Lions regarding use of the community hall. The two groups met in late September, at which time they released a joint statement on social media that said they “regret how they have handled this issue and have offered sincere apologies to each other for their actions” and will work together.

The two groups are at odds over the use of the Lions’ Den, which has been used exclusively by Lions for the past 30 years. The RCA would like to share the space with the community to offer more programs and bring in revenue for the hall.

The hall is owned by 108 Mile Ranch taxpayers and managed by the RCA, an elected board of volunteers. More information on the hall and the RCA can be found at

The groups will meet again in early November.

Gazebo finished

The 108 Lions have completed their gazebo project at Main Beach on 108 Mile Lake. The project, which took three years to build, recognizes 100 years of Lionism in Canada (1920-2020). It was delayed due to COVID-19. The gate to the Main Beach is closed but the gazebo can be accessed by walking the path from the Heritage Site or the golf course.