Williams Lake airport proposes increase in passenger fees

Williams Lake airport proposes an increase to its passenger fees.

After weighing its options, Williams Lake city council has approved raising airport passenger fees rather than general taxation as a way to generate improvement funds.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, council gave introduction and three readings to the City of Williams Lake Regional Airport Fees Bylaw No. 2161 to make way for raising the passenger fee and passed a motion to notify all stakeholders and invite them to a meeting to discuss the fees on Dec. 10 at the airport.

Coun. Surinderpal Rathor said since the city took over running the airport from the federal government in 1997, the city has never used general taxation to cover costs.

“Lately our budget has gone up and we’ve been using the reserves and after spending all that money we realized we needed $230,000 annually to meet our budget.”

It was not the wish of council to start using general taxation, Rathor said, adding staff compared the fees at Williams Lake’s airport with nine other municipalities and found Williams Lake was lower than other airports in the region.

Williams Lake airport has been charging a $7.25 passenger fee, but no airport improvement fee.

Quesnel’s rate is $11 for its passenger fee. Kamloops charges $10 for a passenger fee, plus $7.25 airport improvement, while Fort St. John has a $12 airport improvement fee, but no passenger fee.

“Under this proposed bylaws it’s the users that will pay,” Rathor said.