Williams Lake city council is hoping to implement a new $10 airport improvement fee to be charged to passengers using the airport.
At its regular meeting Tuesdsay council unanimously passed a motion asking staff to come back with a report outlining a $10 fee that would be in addition to the $15 fee already being charged per ticket.
“One of the things we recognize is that we want to continue to expand our regional airport, and frankly, the taxpayers of Williams Lake have been paying for it,” Nelson said. “We want to create this fund to allow us to be able to do things such as repave the road, apply for grants for expansion of the airport and continue to do the upgrades.”
Nelson said the $10-fee would be one of the lowest in the province.
“This is an opportunity to start taking it off the backs of the local taxpayers,” he added.
Mayor Walt Cobb said the total of $25 fee for each ticket if approved would be in line with other communities so he didn’t have problem with it while Coun. Laurie Walters said implementing the fee would be taking a proactive approach so improvements can be made at the airport.
“My concern is that ours is a regional airport and I think it’s a good idea to pursue having a fee,” Walters said.
Council also approved asking staff to bring back a report outlining a short-term capital borrowing bylaw for rehabilitating the airport road.
Coun. Ivan Bonnell supported the improvement fee, adding he would like to see any revenues that are generated at the airport stay with the airport in future years.
“Currently it just goes into general revenue,” Bonnell said.
He did, however, not vote in favour of the borrowing bylaw, saying the fee structure should be confirmed first before deciding to borrow any money.
Coun. Sue Zacharias said she supported borrowing funds for the airport road because council has wanted to improve it for many years.
“There’s a lot of traffic on that road, especially when we had the wildfires, and I think the upkeep and improvement on that road has to be done.”
Staff will prepare a report on the improvement fee and the borrowing bylaw for council’s consideration.