July 10, 2014 - 11:13 AM
KAMLOOPS - Traveler numbers are up more than nine per cent during the first six months of the year as tourism and workers travelling to northern camps continue to increase.
Kamloops Airport Ltd. says the number of travellers were up by about 1,500 bringing the total number of travellers to 157,068 so far this year, up nearly 14,500 people.
Northern workers and people visiting friends and relatives make up a large part of the growth, which is set to break records this year. Last year just over 290,000 people travelled through the airport and this year the airport manager believes that number will surpass 300,000.
“We’re consistently in an area the airport has never been in. Every month we’re reporting growth in a record territory,” Fred Legace says. “We’re heading towards breaking 300,000 this year.”
The growth in travellers has led to a growth of airport services as well. A new business servicing charter and corporate travel (private planes) is under construction. It is basically a garage offering fuel, cleaning and comfort for travellers. It will be a competitor to the Shell station already established at Fulton Field.
Additional parking will also be added this summer. Legace says the increase in northern workers parking for three weeks at a time has created even more of a demand on parking. They will add a lot with 74 stalls for staff parking, which will open up about 80 stalls in the main lot. There will be construction in the main lot as well as they add access to the new lot.
Legace calls this a short term solution and expects the entire area will be constructed in a couple of years to allow for an additional 100 stalls.
“I certainly do enjoy building facilities due to demand,” Legace says, “But we need to be careful about balancing the growth of facility. The goal is not to be building something so far ahead of need it’s not (getting used.)”
The main washrooms will also see upgrades later this summer. Legace says they are hoping to add doorless entry and infrared soap dispensers and faucets. A temporary facility will be set up outside of the building during construction, which is expected to take a couple of months.
“Like any public facility you are typically judged by your bathrooms, it’s what people remember,” Legace says. “We’re going to put a couple hundred thousand into them this time.”
The airport saw a $25 million expansion completed in 2009. It included expanding the terminal as well as the runway.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014