The Cariboo Regional District will make another pitch for funding to resurface the runway at the South Cariboo Regional Airport.
Board directors agreed last Thursday to apply for a $5 million grant from the UBCM Strategic Priorities Fund grant program for the project, on their radar for more than five years. The board last year applied for a $2 million grant with the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program but was unsuccessful.
“This really needs a resurfacing. It’s really beyond our tax base to fund the overlay as well as do the lighting, to bring it up to speed,” Al Richmond, director for Area G (108 Mile Ranch-Lac La Hache) told the board last week. “We have tried every other option. We need to get this done.”
Chair Margo Wagner suggested the board get written letters of support from MPs Frank Caputo and Todd Doherty, as well as MLAs Lorne Doerkson and Coralee Oakes. The BC Wildfire Service is willing to back the funding proposal, she said, because “that runway was an integral part of the firefight.”
The airport is heavily used for both fixed-wing and Medevac flights, and last year was a major hub for refuelling during the summer wildfires. The airport pumped out close to half a million litres of fuel during the wildfire season. As one of the main fuel locations for aircraft battling dozens of fires in the South Cariboo in July and August, the final tally came in at just over 478,000 litres, translating to roughly $700,000 in fuel.
Richmond noted the CRD has about $1 million in reserves, which it can put toward the project if the grant is approved.
Richmond was nominated as chair of the South Cariboo Regional Airport Commission for 2022. Directors Wagner, Mitch Campsall, Willow Macdonald and members-at-large Les Kallos and Larry Davis were also appointed. The airport will host a public open house this Saturday, May 28, as part of the 108 Mile Fair.