March 21, 2017
Tuesday March 21, 2017
The Smithers Airport Terminal Modernization Project has gotten another boost in funding thanks to the commitment of $125,000 from Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Northern Development’s board of directors approved the funding for the $8 million project through the Trust’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure program. The program specifically targets projects that significantly strengthen the local economy, that drive revenue and job creation through a major capital investment and provide a long-term asset for the community.
The Terminal Modernization Project responds to studies, historical data and future projections that indicate that the terminal is no longer operationally effective.
The existing terminal is 50 years old and operating well beyond capacity. The check-in, security, baggage handling, holding room, passenger queuing and cargo storage areas are all at least 50% smaller than recommended standards.
Additionally, the airport is losing potential revenue as a result of having to divert larger planes to nearby facilities. Even though the runways can accommodate them, the terminal cannot accommodate aircraft with more than 54 seats due to the small size of the passenger holding area.
The modernization project will address ongoing deficiencies and resolve safety issues to more effectively accommodate current users and support future growth. Some of the recommendations that will be implemented as part of the project include:
There are no plans to include property taxes or raise Airport Improvement Fees to help pay for the project. Other funding sources for the project include:
Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust
Northern Development is pleased to be a partner in the modernization of the Smithers Regional Airport. The additional capacity and opportunity for future growth helps the community retain a key capital asset for the economic growth of the entire region for years to come.
Taylor Bachrach, mayor, Town of Smithers
The Smithers Regional Airport is undoubtedly one of the Bulkley Valley’s most important economic development assets. Our terminal modernization project will improve the efficiency and comfort of the facility, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and position our airport for future growth. We appreciate Northern Development’s support in making this project a reality.
Shirley Bond, MLA Prince George-Valemount
These improvements will help modernize the Smithers Airport and allow for further economic growth in the North. With the increased baggage and waiting areas, the airport will have the opportunity to expand its services allowing for an increase in potential passenger traffic.
Northern Development Initiative Trust combines funding with smart thinking to help Northern British Columbia thrive. The Trust was created for the north and is led by the north. Since 2005, Northern Development has found 2,400 ways to say “yes” to economic diversification in our region, attracting more than $1.3 billion in new investment to the region.
The Smithers Regional Airport is located just 5 km north of the Town of Smithers. It is part of a regional air system that links domestic and international services. It is also the furthest north registered airport with scheduled commercial passenger and chartered flights, servicing nearly 83,000 passengers each year. The Smithers Airport is strategically located with proximity to regional markets and unique airside, road and rail links.
Smithers Regional Airport