Premier Officially Opens 3rd Longest Runway In Canada

February 20, 2009

from:  Office of the Premier
Published:  Friday, February 20th, 2009

PRINCE GEORGE – An expanded runway giving Prince George Airport the third-longest landing strip in Canada means more economic opportunities for northern and central B.C., Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.

“Prince George is ready to move forward in becoming a major international gateway for passenger and cargo traffic,” said Premier Campbell. “The Prince George area MLAs, Shirley Bond, John Rustad and Pat Bell, were instrumental in pushing this project as a critical infrastructure investment for government to make in the North. It creates jobs and builds a renewed economy for the region”

The project saw the runway expanded to 11,450 feet (3,490 metres), and included purchase of new equipment and systems to improve the airport’s safety, efficiency and reliability. The federal government, provincial government, and each contributed $11 million to the investment.

“This runway opens the door to increased economic opportunity and most importantly will create new direct and indirect jobs,” said Bond.

“This is a smart, strategic investment in the future of Prince George, and this runway expansion means the region is poised to capitalize on the cargo and passenger traffic that will be entering the continent through Northern B.C.,” said Bell.

“Today is a major step in building Prince George’s competitiveness on a global scale. On behalf of Council it’s my pleasure to provide congrats to all the partners who have worked so hard to make this happen. We all look forward to the great potential of the airport expansion,” said Dan Rogers, mayor of Prince George.

“It would have been impossible for an airport of our size to undertake such a major project without the generous assistance of the Provincial government,” said Jim Blake, chair, Prince George Airport Authority. “While we face economic uncertainty in the short term, the development of the Northern Gateway will provide many of our trading partners with reduced costs in getting their products to market.”

“Having the Government of Canada and the Northern Development Initiative Trust partner with us on this project is what made it possible, and this is a demonstration that working together delivers better results than working in isolation,” explained Rustad.

“Today’s official grand opening is a milestone in the diversification of our regional economy,” said Northern Development Initiative Trust chair Bruce Sutherland. “The Northern Development Board believes that the new cargo business and increased tourism traffic will generate significant job opportunities in our region and we look forward to the future growth stemming from the proposed development of the logistics park and the Boundary Road improvements.”

The Province has been investing heavily in Prince George’s infrastructure, with more than $400 million in projects built or underway today. These projects create more than 2,400 jobs in Prince George.

Projects include:

• $200 million for the four-laning of the Cariboo Connector
• $100 million to build the cancer centre of the north