This photography of a Hercules military transport aircraft landing at the Williams Lake airport was submitted to the Tribune last fall by Terry Payette.

This photography of a Hercules military transport aircraft landing at the Williams Lake airport was submitted to the Tribune last fall by Terry Payette.

Runway funding would fall short: city

Runway funding would fall short says the city of Williams Lake

The city of Williams Lake is turning up the heat in hopes it will get funding to completely resurface the runway at its regional airport.

In conversations with representatives of the Airport Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), the city’s been told only 5,000 feet of the 7,000 foot runway is eligible for funding.

At its committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, council discussed contacting the region’s MPs Dick Harris and Cathy McLeod to request a meeting.

“The MPs should be our first point of contact, as well as the caucus chair for the BC MPs, and if we have to go with the opposition MPs to get movement on this. The 5,000 foot resurfacing doesn’t meet our needs with the runway at the airport,” said Coun. Ivan Bonnell.

The cost to overlay the entire runway is estimated to be $7 million, the estimated cost if the city had to overlay the remaining 2,000 feet is $2.5 million. The last time the runway was resurfaced was in 1997.

“Transport Canada criteria for funding is based on current commercial carrier needs, the city has two — Pacific Coastal and Central Mountain Air. Transport Canada has stated that they can only, at this time, support a 5,000 feet overlay based on the needs of the current commercial carriers,“ said Kevin Goldfuss, director of municipal services.

“There are concerns with our other customers such as Air – Spray, Conair and BC Ambulance as they require more than 5,000 feet, in fact the larger ones that are required to fight fires will require the whole 7,000 feet.”

Lighting is an issue too, said acting chief administrative officer Geoff Goodall. “Our consultant was saying if you shorten the runway to 5,000 feet then we’re going to have to alter the lighting system to match it, but Transport Canada in  a meeting said, ‘oh no, you can just paint out the other section,’ so we’re not clear on how that would work.”

 

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