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City of Castlegar clarifies: regional airport to get $1.05-mill grant to pay for $1.4-mill project

The City of Castlegar has received a grant that will make an important re-investment in the West Kootenay Regional Airport in 2019.

A $1,050,000 grant received from the BC Air Access Program (BCAAP) will rehabilitate taxiway B and two-thirds of the apron at the airport. The City will contribute $350,000 (25% of total project costs) to the $1,400,000 project.

The taxiway was last rehabilitated in 1992. A portion of the apron was last rehabilitated in 2002. The existing pavement is in poor condition and would have required the City to fully fund repaving to avoid foreign object debris caused by loose and deteriorating asphalt.

The BCAAP grant follows the April 2019 receipt of a $1.3M grant from the Airport Capital Assistance Program to rehabilitate airfield lighting and electrical systems.

“The airport is a vital economic driver for the City and the West Kootenay,” says Mayor Bruno Tassone. “Together, the $2,765,000 in recent airport grants improve the state of repair of the airport, which enables us to pursue enhanced reliability and service expansion.”

These two projects add to numerous City airport-related initiatives that work to fly more, with fewer cancellations, and a safety-first mantra: airport renaming and rebranding in 2012; $100K investment in design and infrastructure improvements in 2013; and a push to implement a Registered Navigation Procedure (GPS- based navigation program using software installed in planes that allows for curved approaches rather than the current straight-line approaches) that would significantly reduce winter flight cancellations (up to 85%).

The City portion of funding of these two projects is included the approved 2019 capital budget. Grants will fund 26% of the City’s $10,100,000 capital budget in 2019. The City works hard to apply for grants given they provide good leverage of taxes paid by City residents.

About the City of Castlegar (www.castlegar.ca)

The City of Castlegar (pop. 13,700 City and area, trade area 70,000) is a service centre within British Columbia’s West Kootenay interior, including presence of the West Kootenay Regional Airport and Selkirk College’s main campus. The economy is diversified and growing, focused on forestry (Zellstoff Celgar Mill, Interfor), energy (Columbia Power), and mining (Teck) sectors in the Valley, and commercial services in the City. Quality of life features backcountry adventure and an increasingly dynamic urban culture, including addition of Millennium Ponds and the annual Sculpture Walk event in recent years. The City’s desirability as an affordable business and lifestyle choice will continue to grow with anticipated investments in a new recreation complex, redevelopment of the City’s primary commercial artery, first sales of West Kootenay Centre lands (39 acres) adjacent to the airport, and TELUS extension of 250/250 broadband service that will address the City’s interest in attracting entrepreneurs and creative industries.