Mayor Walt Cobb said a Chinese delegation will be visiting Williams Lake Thursday to further explore the possibility of opening a flight school at TRU. Angie Mindus photo

Mayor Walt Cobb said a Chinese delegation will be visiting Williams Lake Thursday to further explore the possibility of opening a flight school at TRU. Angie Mindus photo

Flight school proponents to visit Williams Lake

A delegation from China will be in Williams Lake Thursday to further explore the possibility of developing a flight school

The plan for a flight school at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake could be one step closer to reality.

During Tuesday’s regular council meeting, Mayor Walt Cobb said a delegation from China will be returning to Williams Lake Thursday, Dec. 7 to tour the Williams Lake Airport.

“They will also be looking at the former Columneetza dorms because they are going to need a place for students to stay when they are studying here,” Cobb said.

The dorms have not been used since June 2009 and Cobb said the City has been in conversation with School District 27 about the possibility of refurbishing them.

Last May, Cobb and chief administrative officer Milo MacDonald were part of a delegation of local leaders who visited China to promote local business opportunities.

READ MORE: Cariboo Leaders head to China

At the meeting, council also unanimously endorsed an application to the BC Rural Dividend Fund Program for a proposed airport investment master plan in the amount $35,000. The City’s portion would be an additional $25,000.

The master plan would involve new lease areas, installation of underground services, extension of taxiways, improvements related to NAV CANADA requirements, and any environmental studies if required, stated city planner Hasib Nadvi in a report to council, noting the master plan would also provide a business plan to support future development opportunities such as construction of new hangar(s).

Before the application for funding was accepted by council, Cobb said it was timely because of the proposed flight school.

This fall the provincial government announced a fourth intake for the BC Rural Dividend Program from Nov. 15 until Dec. 15, 2017.

When it was initiated, the commitment was to provide $25 million a year to assist rural communities with a population of 25,000 or less to reinvigorate and diversify local economies.

It is administered by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

READ MORE: Rural economic development