February 4, 2009
from Houston Today – view this article online
Published: February 04, 2009 5:00 AM
Smithers Mayor Cress Farrow, Telkwa Mayor Carman Graf, airport manager Kelly Zacharias, former Mayor of Smithers Jim Davidson, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon, and many others from the community gathered at the Smithers Airport for the official declaration of completion of the runway extension on Monday, Jan. 26.
“This airport is about tomorrow,” Davidson said.
While Mayor Cress Farrow lauds Davidson for being entirely responsible for the new runway, Davidson credits everyone responsible for the development — particularly the provincial government for being one of the first to step up and say we’re here and we’re willing to help.
The airport expansion is worth $5.46 million and only became a reality thanks to the funding partners of the project. The Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund provided $2 million, the Province of BC Ministry of Transportation Transportation Partnership Program provided $1.4 million, Northern Development Initiative Trust provided $1.36 million, and the Town of Smithers and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako provided $699,999 combined.
The Smithers Airport runway extension was declared officially complete last Monday with former Smithers mayor Jim Davidson, Mayor Cress Farrow, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon, and Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako representative Stoney Stoltenberg cutting the ribbon. (photo credit: Rikki Schierer/Houston Today)
Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon also gave his thanks to everyone who was responsible for making this airport expansion possible, highlighting the benefits this new development will have for the Northwest.
“It truly is something that will benefit the Northwest,” Minister Falcon said.
“To be here today is a great honour.”
The availability of having larger jets land here will be especially important for mining and development companies, who can now fly their equipment in rather than relying on train or road.
The Bulkley Valley has many resources available for development which still remain largely underutilized.
Especially with the economy the way it is, beginning work on these resources would provide many Smithereens with jobs and bring more people to to the region.
Tourism will also benefit from having a larger runway.
Skiers being one of the many Smithers hopes to attract to its region, especially with the 2010 Olympics going on in Whistler. Smithers will be more available to athletes who wish to climatize themselves to British Columbian snow.
However, Houston can also be expected to benefit.
“It’s a regional development and will affect every area of our region,” representative for the Northern Development Initiative Trust Lance Hamblin said.