The Town of Golden is moving forward to determine the next steps for the continued operation of the Golden Municipal Airport after it recently revealed the airport faces a sizeable deficit.
Currently, the town is in the process of searching for a qualified consulting firm to undertake an economic viability study, which will help the town determine the best way forward for the airport.
“The viability investigation of our airport is a council strategic priority for this term in office,” said Mayor Ron Oszust.
“While it’s totally intuitive for us to think having an airport is a great thing, it must be measured against our ability to actually maintain it over the long term.”
The town has been collecting and analyzing data and taking stock of the airport’s infrastructure and services in order to prioritize its assets and remain accountable to local tax payers.
It has been identified that there is a sizeable deficit, which has led the town to reconsider its service levels and begin to develop a long term financial strategy for the airport.
“Responsible asset management practices compel us to look at our infrastructure and facilities for the foreseeable term and reconcile use, need and cost now and in the future,” said Jon Wilsgard, the CAO for the town.
“The purpose of this initiative is to commission aviation and economic development experts that can give us solid, technically backed and realistic business case for this area that we can afford and achieve.”
The airport is now home to helicopter charter and maintenance, aviation fuelling, a season provincial wildfire base, Golden and District Search and Rescue (GADSAR), private aircraft owners, recreational flying, eco-tourism, as well as a day-use picnic area.
A technical conditions assessment of the runway was undertaken in 2015, which revealed the condition of the runway to be poor. It determined that in order to keep the facility operating, it would required almost $3 million in runway and taxiway repaving.
The current water and sewer facility are also not able to accomodate further development.
A study in 2011 also revealed that an additional $3.6 million would be needed to accomodate larger planes and to upgrade navigational aids and terminal amenities.
The new study would help determine if the airport has a sufficient business case to continue to exist. It will also help to develop a strategy and tactical plan for development, investment and funding opportunities for the required upgrades to allow it to continue operations.