March 14, 2016 - 4:30 PM
VERNON - There aren’t any big changes in the picture for Vernon’s airport.
A majority of council voted against extending the runway, a ‘now or never’ project that would have had to happen by September 2017 at the latest, due to new Transport Canada regulations coming into effect.
Coun. Catherine Lord wanted to explore the possibility of funding the $5.2 million runway extension with grants, and is disappointed the concept was shot down.
“We’ve missed the boat,” Lord says. “I think we’ve done a real disservice to Vernon.”
She says expanding the airport would have bolstered the local economy with at least 17 more jobs and boosted the facility’s Gross Domestic Product output to roughly $65 million, up from $54 million. She also felt the extension, which would allow more types of aircraft to land, was an important consideration in terms of future medivac needs.
Mayor Akbal Mund voted against the extension partly because of the tight timeline, but doesn’t feel it will be a big loss for the community. He admits it would have generated more jobs, but questions whether it would have been worth it for the average taxpayer.
“Would it be beneficial for the amount of money dispensed? No, you’ll never see a return on it,” Mund says.
Coun. Bob Spiers is pleased council settled on the more conservative option, which will see $2 million invested into maintenance and repairs.
“I believe we have a viable airport there now,” Spiers says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016