Castlegar CAO Addresses Grant Funding for Terminal Expansion, more


The City of Castlegar has received grant moneys from the Union of BC Municipalities Strategic Priorities Fund for further expansion efforts at the West Kootenay Regional Airport.

The Bounce Radio Newsroom caught up with Chief Administrative Officer Chris Barlow to learn more:

“Six-million dollars towards a 13.4 million dollar project. So the total project.... the big piece was a major upgrade and expansion to the terminal building as well as parking upgrades, parking lot increasing as well as access to the airport and intersection upgrades.”

Barlow says the goal was identified in Castlegar's Airport Master Plan, adopted about four years ago:

“It follows on a number of other successful projects that we’ve got built out of the master plan so that was runway edge lighting, the RNP (Required Navigation Performance) work that we did, we got grant funding last year for an airside apron expansion and then the last remaining projects in the first phase of the masterplan was airport terminal expansion as well as groundside improvements.”

“One of the things identified in our airport master plan is targeting the use of Q-400 aircrafts flying into our airport as our main aircraft and that happened about a year ago. With that though what changes is, they’re larger aircrafts and (have) more passenger capabilities and so we have to look at our overall terminal to understand how we’re going to accommodate that growth of the number of passengers coming in on flights. As well as we’re anticipating increases in overall passenger count for the region.” he adds

The City's Airport Master Plan was adopted four years ago and outlines growth over the next 20 years.

Barlow explains this is good news for our area and not just the City, as airport upgrades benefit the region as a whole. The City’s CAO also commends Airport Manager Maciej Habrych for helping secure grant funding and bridge partnerships to support the airport masterplan's vision.

Airport reliability was a topic at this Monday’s Committee of the Whole in Castlegar.

An April 17th City Council discussion regarding the aforementioned grant moneys heard about the continued pursuit of Required Navigation Performance technology for the West Kootenay Regional Airport.

Maria Maria McFaddin prompted Airport Manager Maciej Habrych to explain:

“It’s another big domino which has to fall but we are well positioned…. Really spent this last year really refining what that product will look like. So we are coming to an end phase now where we’re comfortable starting to develop it and start pitching it and gathering some interest through our industry partners.” he says

“It’s (six-million dollar grant) something we should celebrate, even if we may not be reliability-wise where we’d love to be. Because I think all of that work that we as council and as a community have put in to show that we can get our reliability up is part of the reason why we’re also getting some buy-in from investments into our airport. Because they also see the writing on the wall….” responds the Mayor

Castlegar City Council approved a loan to pursue RNP roughly two years ago, which helps aircrafts better assess landing eligibility by using GPS.