Anahim Lake airport runway to be extended

Work will begin on an extension to the Anahim Lake Airport runway this week.

Work will begin on an extension to the Anahim Lake Airport runway this week.

Crews will start work after the scheduled flight on July 17 and continue working through to July 20.

Presently the runway measures 3,950 feet by 75 feet.

The extension will add an additional 700 feet of gravel to the south end of the runway, Cariboo Regional District Area J director Roger William says.

“We will pave the gravel and extend the usable service, allowing for safer winter landing and increasing the passenger care and capacity.”

At a regular meeting on July 13, the CRD board approved the plan to continue moving forward with Anahim Lake Airport improvements.

There are also plans to build a new terminal, with construction starting in 2013.

In its June 6 meeting minutes, the Anahim Lake Airport Commission indicates it will begin public consultation regarding expanding the taxation boundary with help from CRD staff who will gather statistics about who is using the airport.

“We do have a taxation boundary for that area, but it is felt that there are people using the airport from outside the boundary and that we should increase the boundary for tax purposes. This is going to be a process that will begin with working with the public in the area and communicating details on what kinds of tax increase it would involve,” Williams explains.

Aside from increasing the boundary as a way of securing more funding, funding is already coming from the CRD, BC Towns for Tomorrow and Northern Development Initiative Trust for the extension and construction of a terminal building.

“The Ulkatcho band is working on getting some funding because they use the airport for medical reasons and for band business, their enterprise and enterprise use. They are looking at what they can provide in terms of funding,” William says.

William has received e-mails from constituents that aren’t happy about increased taxation, some claiming their taxes have tripled in a decade.

“It will be a lot of work for the commission to figure out what’s going to work. People will need to understand exactly what’s involved with the airport. Some people are saying they don’t use the airport and should not have to pay, but they are already paying,” he says.

According to CRD statistics for 2011, the Anahim Lake Airport had a total of 1,116 plane arrivals and departures; 35 of those were medevacs.