The airport in Osoyoos is getting some upgrades with the help of an economic recovery grant from the province.
The Osoyoos Airport Development Society announced $524,174 in funding with support from the Town of Osoyoos, Osoyoos Indian Band, Destination Osoyoos and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) through the Province of B.C.’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP).
These funds will go towards continuing to increase safety, service and site improvements at the Osoyoos Airport, according to the development society.
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The upgrades follow development spanning 30 years at the Osoyoos Airport, with over $600,000 invested in the facility thus far.
The grant will fund six projects that were identified in the 2018 Osoyoos Airport: Strategic Plan and Opportunity Assessment including a 300-foot extension to the southern end of the runway to provide a “balanced field length” as required by Transport Canada for aircraft that provide charter flights.
The airport, which provides a space for the local model-plane club and a space for drag racing events in non-COVID years, does see some small aircraft coming through.
However, with the new grant funding, planes will be able to take advantage of a fuel tank and tie-downs to keep aircraft at the facility overnight.
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Other airport projects funded by the provincial recovery funds include:
- An apron expansion to enable aircraft to have an area to park, which will allow for larger aircraft and more than one aircraft at a time;
- Aircraft tie-downs;
- A parallel taxiway which will allow aircraft to position for takeoff without backtracking;
- Completion of the perimeter fencing and the installation of a fuel tank.
“Airports serve as a catalyst for tourism and convention industries by facilitating air travel and giving individuals direct access to product offerings,” said a statement from the Osoyoos Airport Development Society.
“Businesses involved in the hospitality industry are significant beneficiaries of these travellers in particular. Additionally, airports enhance social connectivity for a community, for example having a functioning airport may allow residents to work outside the community (e.g. energy sector workers) and commute to/from the job site.”
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The projects will be initiated no later than Dec. 31, 2021, and will be completed before March 31, 2023.
“I am confident that these funds will allow us to enhance the safety and reliability of the Osoyoos Airport which will play a major role in supporting the community during the economic recovery,” said Glen Harris, President of the Osoyoos Airport Development Society.
The airport is one of three projects in Osoyoos funded by the economic recovery grants, including the replacement of the boardwalk at the Osoyoos Desert Centre and a grant to construct a pit house at the Nk’Mip Desert Centre.
Osoyoos mayor Sue McKortoff said, “that’s pretty fortunate that we have three things that are quite local and are being supported, so we’re happy about that.”