ACRD still waits for grant funding

The expansion of the Alberni Valley Regional Airport should be completed by the end of August 2016.

The expansion of the Alberni Valley Regional Airport should be completed by the end of August 2016, according a timeline provided by regional district CAO Russell Dyson.

The project, which is slated to cost $7.5 million, includes both expanding the runway itself and installing new lighting.

According to the ACRD, the runway extension would lengthen the currently  3,952-by-75-foot runway to 5,000-by-100 feet. The length would be gained by extending the runway to the east, near the terminal and where the drag racing burnout box is currently located.

The lighting would upgrade the current system at the airport to medium-intensity lighting, said Dyson.

The ACRD is waiting on the government to find out whether or not they will receive funding.

They have applied through the Strategic Priorities Fund. The money comes from the federal gas tax fund but will be doled out by the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

According to Dyson, the regional district expects to hear back about the grant by the end of 2015. The grant can cover up to 100 per cent of the cost; if it does not, the ACRD has secured voter permission to borrow up to $6 million to cover any shortfall.

The tender for the airport expansion will be prepared for January and awarded by the end of February.

Transport Canada and Nav Canada plans are expected to be developed and implemented in March 2016 and excavation and land clearing will be completed between April and June. The runway would be paved in June and July and new lighting installed between April and July. Obstacle limitation surface work will take place between March and June and final grading and landscaping should be completed by the end of July.

Runway markings will be painted onto the freshly paved surface in August and the commissioning of the new runway infrastructure and appliances will take place over the course of July and August.

In the case of poor weather or unforeseen earthwork and blasting, the project could be delayed until the end of September.