A week after Osoyoos Council all but snubbed the City of Penticton over its pitch to help fund an airport study, another South Okanagan partner pledged what it sees as a proportionate amount.
In a 5-2 split decision, District of Summerland council voted Monday to contribute $3,000 towards an air service study for Penticton Regional Airport.
“We’re one-third the size of Penticton, perhaps we should contribute one-third of their amount,” said Coun. Richard Barkwill, who made the motion to contribute $3,000.
Last Tuesday, Osoyoos town council voted to chip in $700.
Penticton had asked for $4,000 contributions each from five South Okanagan and Similkameen communities, also including Princeton, Keremeos, and Oliver.
Penticton will provide $10,000 toward the required total of $30,400 and the RDOS has committed $4,000.
In a letter to local councils, Penticton city manager Peter Weeber explains the study is meant in part to persuade Air Canada there is sufficient passenger volume to replace with larger 74-seat Q400s the 50-seat Dash-8-300s it currently flies between Penticton and Vancouver.
“The new Q400 aircraft has modern avionics equipment that allows for operation in low-ceiling conditions, unlike the older technology avionics used by the Dash-8-300, which is often prohibited or delayed from landing or departing at Penticton, particularly during the winter months,” Weeber writes.
In addition, the study is expected to help make the case to Air Canada for more flights to Vancouver and schedule changes to improve connections, plus show WestJet there is demand for more runs to Calgary.
But Osoyoos councillor CJ Rhodes put voice to opposition in both Osoyoos and Summerland, noting local taxpayers are already funding the airport and its administration.
“They are put there for the benefit of all residents, not only in the area, but every person in Canada, and we have paid already for this service and we should be the beneficiaries of all things that happen there.”
— With files from Penticton Herald