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City receives over $8M from feds for airport runway extension, resurfacing

Many key investments at the Powell River Airport will now be possible with federal funding, setting it up for the next 25 years.

The funding hits a total of $8,025,527 and will fully fund several key investments identified in the 2020 Powell River Master Plan.

Among the changes will include extending one of the airport’s runways. The city says this is required to meet strategic planning, technical and regulatory requirements and add economic resiliency to the region.

The runway is almost 40 years old and it needs renovations to meet federal safety standards. The city says it will be extended to a possible 1,219 metres, resurfaced, and have most of the lighting replaced.

Powell River mayor Dave Formosa, says it will help with future economic growth.

“This ensures the long-term viability of the airport and expands on opportunities to attract further investment in the lands surrounding the runway that is already underway,” said Formosa.

“Our airport is crucial to the city’s economic development given Powell River’s location on the Sunshine Coast. We are fortunate the grant covers 100 per cent of the project cost.”

The upgrades will also allow for commercial passenger carriers and cargo planes to run at a higher capacity, and improve drainage.

Work is expected to get underway in 2023 depending on Transport Canada priorities, according to transportation manager Cam Reed.

“Significant disruption to airport operations and extended runway closures can be expected during construction,” said Reed.

“However, engagement with agencies and companies has already begun to ensure those are mitigated and service to the community is accommodated to the greatest extent possible.”

Powell River is one of eight communities in the province to get funding for safer airport operations.

The City of Nanaimo is getting over $224,000 to buy a snowplow truck and Tofino is getting more than $2.5 million to replace wildlife fencing and construct a sand and equipment shelter.

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