B.C. invests $11 million into airport upgrades, prioritizes rural, Indigenous communities

A new investment of $11 million from the province is aimed at upgrading airports in rural and Indigenous communities.

In an announcement Tuesday, the province says the money will be administered through its BC Air Access Program and fund 26 upgrades at two dozen airports.

“Airports play a key role in bringing together communities and people, and provide the vital links that keep goods moving and our economy strong,” said Dan Coulter, minister of state for infrastructure and transit.

“This provincial support will help our regional airports with a wide range of upgrades that will increase safety, reliability and capacity for the services that British Columbians rely on, including access to health care and support for firefighting.”

Featured projects include runway improvements in Kamloops, Castlegar and Terrace, an emergency heliport for the Metlakatla First Nation, and a back-up generator for emergency preparedness in Tofino.

The funding administered through this program goes directly into initiatives like wildfire suppression, air ambulances and emergency response at B.C.’s airports, says Heather McCarley, chair of the BC Aviation Council.

“These strategic investments are particularly important for the province’s remote, rural and Indigenous communities,” she said.

There are more than 300 public airports, heliports and water aerodromes in B.C.

Since 2017, more than $63 million in grants have been administered through this program to projects at 71 air facilities, all of which serve less than one million passengers per year.

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