Town council voted unanimously in favour of continuing to operate the Golden Municipal Airport as an aerodrome at the Tuesday, Oct. 20, council meeting.
An aerodromeis a location from which aircraft flight operations take place, regardless of whether they involve air cargo or passengers.
The Golden Airport does not have certified airport status in accordance with Transport Canada guidelines, states the airport feasibility study presented to council.
The decision would maintain the status quo.
The motion was put on the table by Coun. Eddie Leigan and seconded by Coun. John Manuel.
The town will now be proceed with directing HM Aero Aviation Inc., the consultant firm behind the airport feasibility study, to develop a strategic and tactical plan to facilitate this.
“Throughout this study process, I followed some of the feedback process about the continued operation of the airport based on health and safety concerns online, which convinced me that this is an asset that must remain here,” said Leigan in a short statement on why he moved to maintain the airport.
“Once I heard people sating that their loved ones wouldn’t be here without it, I knew that this was important.
“The economic and social aspects concrete it for me that we need this, but we need partners as well.”
The consultant offered several recommendations, one of which was that the town partner with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, similar to the partnership operating the Revelstoke Airport, in order to maintain the facility.
The study has been ongoing since April, its underlying purpose being to gain a better understanding of the airport’s ongoing financial feasibility.
The study, presented to council at the Oct. 20 meeting, cited many reasons for recommending the airport remain operational and not to even partially decommission it.
Through engagement with the community and local stakeholders, the study found the airport supplemented Golden and District Search and Rescue, wildfire suppression and air ambulance services, and gives operational flexibility to several community organizations.
The study revealed the airport also helps supplement Golden’s adventure tourism economy, allowing access to back country lodges, noting Golden had one of the highest density of back-country lodges in Canada.
The airport also facilitates heli-sking, alpine biking and skydiving.
The study estimates it would take about $300,000 a year over about 16 years to maintain the status quo of the airport, including repairing runways, updating the plumbing and sewer system, and completing several other updates that would be needed to remain operational.
More information on total costs and the repairs needed will be made more clear through the strategic and tactical report council asked for at the Oct. 20 meeting to follow up on the study’s findings.