The Williams Lake Airport will be doing a major upgrade to the airfield thanks to a $1.5 million Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) grant.
Airport manager Tim Lussier said the funding will see all the airfield lighting replaced on the runway, taxiway and apron, including all underground conduits and conductors.
“It is going toward all new runway fixtures, new airfield signage and it’s also going to give us a new standby emergency generator, replacing ours which is 35 plus years old,” he told the Tribune Thursday.
“It will bring our airfield lighting part of the airport, which is called visual aids up to TP 312 fifth edition aerodrome standards. We are not in compliance now so this will bring our lighting and electrical up to those standards.”
During a special city council meeting held Tuesday, March 5, council approved Mayor Walt Cobb and corporate officer Cindy Bouchard signing the contribution agreement for the ACAP funding on behalf of the City.
Last year there was an underground cable break at the airfield that resulted in night operations being suspended for two nights, which Lussier said was because the underground airfield lighting infrastructure is becoming outdated.
“The upgrade is going to eliminate those maintenance frustrations,” he said.
The airport will also get a new aerodrome LED beacon and new approved up-to-date wind socks.
Wind socks, he explained, indicate the direction and speed of the wind.
Williams Lake’s receiving the grant was a case of the old saying, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’
“We had this application in now for over five years, but because Transport Canada has set priorities across the country, we were always bumped back,” Lussier said.
“This year, finally, they accepted it because of things like that breakage we had last year and ongoing repairs.”
Presently 60 per cent of the design is completed and Lussier said they are waiting for it to be 100 per cent finalized so the construction project can go out to tender, which he expects will occur by early summer.
Before becoming the airport manager just over a year ago, Lussier was the maintenance supervisor at the Williams Lake Airport for more than 20 years. He was also a coach for Williams Lake Minor Hockey.