The Osoyoos Airport Development Society has some additional financial help coming to support its effort to develop the community’s airport into a “general aviation” facility.
The society is among 23 provincial airports to receive funding through the B.C. Air Access Program (BCAAP).
It will receive $90,000 to help with a runway extension and to make improvements to its apron — the area of the airport where aircraft are parked.
“About six weeks ago, the BC Air Access program contacted me and advised that they had surplus funds available to distribute and they asked us if we would still like funding on the other projects that we applied for,” explained the society’s Glen Harris.
“We said yes.”
The society had earlier received $60,000 to erect perimeter fencing and do some site clearing work.
“That work is nearly done now,” said Mr. Harris, adding both grants come with a requirement the receiving party provide an additional 25 percent in funding.
The funding comes within weeks of the society’s delivery of a strategic roadmap to Osoyoos Council that makes reference to a lengthened runway and other improvements it wants the Town to embrace to develop a “General Aviation” facility for the community.
The big step forward would be extending the existing runway — which is currently about 440 metres — to 1,070 metres and eventually to 1,200 metres.
To accomplish that, the runway would be extended to the south — about 150 metres — and a right-of-way would be acquired to the north of the airport, which consists of agricultural lands, for an additional 293-metre extension.
“This additional grant funding comes along at a very good time to plan for these projects along with a few others that are on the priority list developed for us,” said Mr. Harris.
BCAAP is a cost-share program that provides funding to assist communities with improvements to their aviation infrastructure. This year, the grants total more than $5.3 million.
The provincial funding is provided to “make safety and capacity upgrades, and create a better experience for people travelling by air.”
The program, now in its fourth year, has committed almost $30 million to 50 airports around the province since 2015.
Funding can cover up to 75% of the costs for airport infrastructure rehabilitation projects, 50% of the costs for new infrastructure or 60% for blended projects (rehabilitation projects that include new infrastructure).
B.C. has more than 300 public airports, heliports and water aerodromes.
“We look forward to working with Mayor and Council and Town staff and our other stakeholders to action these airport projects and to improve air access into Osoyoos,” said Mr. Harris.