In 2011, Cariboo Regional District received a $100,000 grant from Northern Development through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program towards this $739,640 project. This has been a funding partnership of Cariboo Regional District, Northern Development, and Towns for Tomorrow
2012-The Anahim Lake Airport is a year-round airport with a 3,950 foot long runway and fuel facilities serving the West Chilcotin area. Scheduled service to Anahim Lake is provided by Pacific Coastal Airlines. Anahim Lake and the surrounding West Chilcotin region is remote, rural and accessible only by Highway 20 or by air and the airport provides essential transportation infrastructure for the area. Numerous tourism operators in the West Chilcotin region depend heavily on the airport for the delivery of goods and people.
In 2010, the airport experienced 1,415 movements, multiple private and charter flights, 19 medevac flights and use by RCMP and the BC Forest Service to fight interface wildfires. The Cariboo Regional District recognized the importance of the Anahim Lake Airport, and partnered with Towns For Tomorrow and Northern Development on an airport improvement project.
This project involved the construction of a terminal building and paving up to 700 feet of the existing gravel runway. The terminal building will improve the service levels at the airport resulting in increased use of the airport by community residents, visitors, tourism operators, medical personnel, the RCMP and other user groups. The terminal will also provide office space and a lounge area available for personnel during emergencies such as forest fires and medical evacuations. The paved runway will allow for safer winter landings and increased passenger carrying capacity year-round.
"Investing in transportation infrastructure in rural areas is critical for the safety of our residents and to economic diversification. These improvements will ensure the West Chilcotin is better prepared to expand its tourism opportunities. The airport is a gateway to visitors, even drawing significant numbers of international guests, and more than ever before, we will be ready to receive them."Al Richmond, Chair, Cariboo Regional District
By improving the existing transportation infrastructure at the airport, this project will support economic diversification throughout the West Chilcotin by maintaining and increasing direct access to the region by air for residents, tourists and businesses.
In 2010, Anahim Lake and the surrounding area were dramatically impacted by the wildfire season, and shortly after, severe flooding. While the airport improvements provide many economic benefits for tourism and business operators in the region, these infrastructure developments ensure that Anahim Lake and area residents have reliable transportation infrastructure during an emergency and evacuation.
During the severe flooding event in September 2010, Highway 20 with access to Anahim Lake was closed. The airport remained open and was an essential service for the movement of goods and emergency personnel.