The Anahim Lake Airport runway will be receiving upgrades with a $300,000-boost from the provincial government.
It is one of 38 projects being funded under the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development’s Rural Economic Recovery stream of the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program announced on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
In its business plan for the airport, which is located three and a half hours west of Williams Lake, the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) noted to achieve Transport Canada compliance, the runway safety area along the runway extension now must have a maximum of three per cent slope and presently there are areas that exceed the amount that must be filled and graded.
During a media conference Thursday, CRD manager of community services Darron Campbell said the funding is absolutely critical for the region’s transportation infrastructure.
“Currently the runway at the Anahim Lake Airport isn’t available to its full length and is shorter than the paved surface due to regulatory requirements,” Campbell said. “The shorter runway limits the weight for passengers and cargo that Pacific Coastal Airlines can bring into the airport.”
He noted the airport has about 1,500 aircraft movements per year, as well as 30 medevac flights and is a ‘very’ important connection and has had scheduled flight service for more than 40 years.
Over the years the airport has also served as the basis of operation for the BC Wildfire Service and was essential during the 2017 wildfires when the area around the airport was under evacuation, he added.
In 2010, the airport achieved Transport Canada certification.
During a media conference Thursday, forests minister Katrine Conroy said the funding will help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The economy of rural communities benefits us all,” Conroy said. “I want to recognize everyone who is leading these projects in their communities.”