Airport access scores low in BRE survey

Last month, results from the BRE survey revealed that participants were not pleased with the town’s access to airport facilities.

Last month, results from the Golden Area Initiatives’ recent Business Retention and Expansion survey revealed that participants were not pleased with the town’s access to airport facilities.

Sixty per cent of the respondents (who were made up of 114 business owners and operators in Golden) rated Golden’s access to airport facilities as poor or fair, while just 16 per cent rated access as good or excellent. Twenty-five per cent of respondents felt that airport access was not applicable to their business.

With this information in mind, it is interesting to wonder what can be done to improve Golden’s airport access. Unfortunately, the cities of Calgary and Cranbrook and their airport facilities are unlikely to move closer anytime soon, meaning Golden’s problems will have to be fixed internally.

The first thing to note is that Golden’s current airport has actually drawn some rave reviews from at least one very noteworthy name in the field of aviation. West Jet co-founder Don Bell, who served as the chair on the airport committee, had glowing reviews for the town’s airport.

“[Bell] is on record with saying that this is a real gem of an airport. Who am I to say that Don Bell doesn’t know what he’s talking about?” laughed Town CAO Jon Wilsgard, who also served on the airport committee.

With Revelstoke’s airport undergoing various upgrades, and at least one entrepreneur considering bringing in regular chartered service, it is timely to wonder whether Golden could get the same treatment to accommodate commercial flights. Adding regular passenger service, however, is no small task.

“There are those that say we should be getting charter flights here or regular flights. When you get into that mode, where you actually have regular flights or you reach a point where charter flights are coming in on a regular basis, the obligations to bring your airport up to a certain federal standard kick in. They can be incredibly expensive,” said Wilsgard.

In contrast with the Revelstoke airport, which is owned and operated by the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), Golden’s airport is run by the Town.

The CSRD and the Town split maintenance and upkeep costs fairly evenly, although as it stands right now the Town is 100 per cent responsible for any major capital upgrades that might be needed.

That could become an obstacle for the Town if it ever wishes to pursue the idea of commercial flights, but it could have even more damaging effects if it was ever decided that the airport required other upgrades, such as a new runway surface,  a project that would come with a potential seven figure price tag.

“It’s a tough way to have a partnership, but I think that if anything major had to happen I’d be pretty interested in trying to find a way to do it,” said CSRD Area A Director Garry Habart.

Given the potential requirement for major upgrades, Wilsgard was asked if he believed the airport would be financially viable in 20 years if nothing were to change with its funding structure.

“No. The runway is not going to last that long. You can only crack and seal for so long,” he said.

The Town will know more about the state of the airport when its runway condition assessment is completed next year. Without some help coming from somewhere, it is hard to imagine the Town being able to foot the bill for any large scale upgrades.

If no help were to arrive it would be fair to wonder if the airport could be in jeopardy at some point in the future, which would be a major step backwards for Golden’s access to airport facilities, an aspect that has many business owners griping already.

 

Just Posted

Expect delays on Highway 1 west of Golden due to vehicle fire

Expect delays while driving Highway 1 between Golden and Revelstoke. Drive BC… Continue reading

Your weekly Mountain Minute

Golden’s weekly 60-secon news recap for February 14

Biologists discover another female calf in depleted South Purcell Mountain Caribou herd

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

King and Spring return to Golden this weekend

The Snow King and Lady Spring return to the Valley this weekend,… Continue reading

Find out what the Golden community is up to

I hope that this column finds you someplace cozy and warm and… Continue reading

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Avalanche control planned tomorrow on Highway 1

The highway will be closed in the morning east of Revelstoke

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read