In 2008, District of Vanderhoof received a $267,754 grant and a $66,939 loan from Northern Development through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program towards this $1,171,319 project. This has been a funding partnership of District of Vanderhoof, Northern Development, Community Economic Diversification Initiative, and Transportation Partnerships Initiative BC
2012 – In a partnership with the College of New Caledonia, the District of Vanderhoof has taken strategic steps towards becoming an aviation training community focused on providing a supply of pilots to Canada’s northern air carrier industry.
The District of Vanderhoof, with funding support from Northern Development, has installed a lighting system with lit wind direction indicators, Global Positioning System (GPS) radio navigation approach equipment as well as an aircraft tracking system and an automated weather station at the local airport. These upgrades give the Vanderhoof airport the capability to guide airplanes in dark and undesirable conditions, and allows it to operate twenty-four hours a day.
Having a small airport with these features allows the community to attract aviation related businesses and provide safe transport for equipment, supplies and residents. To accomplish this, the project also included the development of a land use plan that will allow the District to secure exemption of the airport lands from the Agricultural Land Commission. This exemption will enable the District to initiate an investment attraction marketing program to spur the development of an aviation-related industrial park at the airport.
"The capital upgrades to our airport were a critical first step in our long range goal of developing an aviation related industrial park. As we move forward with this concept, we are at the point of negotiating with four businesses interested in purchasing airport land to expand their existing ventures and develop new ones."Gerry Thiessen, Mayor, District of Vanderhoof
"It is anticipated that there will be job creation and business revenues reinvested in our community that will stimulate other development. We could not have got to this point without the help of Northern Development and the partnership and support that they have provided."Gerry Thiessen, Mayor, District of Vanderhoof
Vanderhoof intends to use the improved airport to diversify its economy further by servicing the mining industry while also developing a new sector in aviation training within the community. The airport lighting and GPS installation allows an increase in operations for the Vanderhoof airport, increasing the amount of traffic through the airport and the community. It also increases the safety and well-being of residents of Vanderhoof by increasing medi-vac opportunities for those that are in critical condition and require care in Vancouver's hospitals.