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.”