Cancel-gar no more: airport upgrades slated

Cancel-gar no more: airport upgrades slated

What was once renowned as the ‘Cancel-gar’ airport should be taking off with some improvements this year, as the city works to upgrade the facility and its services to reflect its role as the recently-named  West Kootenay Regional Airport.

First, the city will be forming an Airport Advisory Committee with representatives from across the region, said city councillor Deb McIntosh, and with the city setting aside up to $10,000 for administrative support for said committee.
“It was thought that, as we are a regional airport, we should have a regional advisory committee, too, allowing everyone to have a say in what we do there,” she said.
Second, pending approval of full grant funding, the city will contract Jetpro to undertake a $58,000 flight procedures study.
Councillor Russ Hearne said the study would re-examine visibility indicators for landing pilots, with the facility’s new airport beacons in mind, in hopes of increasing aircraft landing options, thus improving both service and reliability.
City manager John Malcolm said a similar study was conducted in 2004, looking into new technologies including Global Positioning Systems, which increased landing reliability at the time.
"This study, too, will look at new technologies developed over the past seven or eight years  that will help build on (2004 upgrades), by, hopefully, allowing new procedures that will reduce the required visibility ceilings for landing aircraft."
Finally, the city has given the green light to get started on an airport facelift, paying Twist Marketing (creators of the Castlegar brand) $7,500 to create a “rehabilitation plan” for the terminal.
“We just want to update the signage, the look, the message we’re putting out to anyone who travels through our airport,” McIntosh said. “That building is the first glimpse air travellers get of us and our city and our region. We want it to reflect its stature as a transportation hub for a vital, dynamic region.”


No Tax dollars will be spent

Warren, thanks for the comments. I agree with you about the anxiety that people feel when flying into or out of Castlegar. We have these big mountains that cause issues. The upgrades that we are doing are one part of our overall plan to improve the West Kootenay Regional airport. We have beacons installed to allow planes to take off later and to make it easier for planes to come in. We are working with Jazz to reduce the number of cancellations and we want to make some improvements to the terminal. This airport is the airport for the region as a whole, and as the economic centre of the Kootenay's we know how important it is not only to ourselves but to Trail and Nelson. The money for the beacons was funded through the province and the money for the renovations of the terminal building are coming from the airport. The City of Castlegar treats the airport as a stand alone business and ever since it was purchased by the City it has paid it's own way. Money is collected through improvement fees collected by the airlines and non of your tax dollars will be spent on these improvements. We are hopeful that the work being done will allow people to come and go easier and then we all win. Thanks for the comment and if you have any other concerns please feel free to contact me. Russ

Cart before the horse...

With all due respect to Councilors McIntosh and Hearne; as well as the folks at Twist Marketing, spending a cent on rebranding the airport is throwing good money after bad. The overriding user experience is for the most part one of anxiety; ie "Will I get in/ out?". Please don't waste our tax money trying to creating an illusion. Being seen as a "vital, dynamic region" will occur organically when the issues surrounding actually getting in and out of the airport are addressed and solved; not by creating a "vibe" that contrasts with reality...

Cart before the horse

Thank you for your comments. I can appreciate the frustration. We are striving to put our best foot forward. No tax dollars for the Airport, it is a stand alone. I echo what Councillor Hearn said. I do appreciate the feed back though.