ACRD waits for approval in airport process

Alberni Valley voters will have 32 days to let the ACRD know if they disapprove of the plan to borrow for a runway extension at the airport

Alberni Valley voters will have 32 days to let the Alberni-Clayquot Regional District know if they disapprove of the ACRD’s plan to borrow up to $6 million dollars for a runway extension at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport.

The time period will start after the June 24 board meeting when the inspector of municipalities signs off on the alternate approval process.

Regional district CAO Russell Dyson was at city council on Monday night to explain the alternate approval process. The regional district board of directors approved using the approximately $1,800 process instead of going to referendum at a cost of $9,000-$13,000.

Dyson broke down the costs for all proposed airport upgrades.

“It’s $5.9M for the runway extension, $1.5M for the medium-intensity lighting and $350,000 for the GPS approach,” said Dyson. The runway is currently 3,952 feet long by 75 feet wide and the ACRD is looking to extend it to 5,000 by 100 feet to allow the handling of bigger, heavier aircraft.

Dyson cited the Coulson Group’s C-130s as aircraft that would require the extended runway when fully loaded.

“Some of the reasons for the cost of this is that not only do we have to establish the runway itself and do the groundwork for that but it’s realizing the approaches.”

Realizing the approaches will involve moving more than 20,000 dump truck loads of dirt as well as removing trees and other vegetation from not only the runway area itself but the surrounding space.

Plans are to extend the runway at the southeast end.

Dyson said that even though the ACRD is applying to be able to borrow up to the whole $6M needed for the extension, it’s applied for three grants to ease the burden on the taxpayers. If the ACRD foots the whole amount, the average home in the Alberni Valley will pay an extra $23 in property tax each year for the next 30 years.

The average home is calculated at $200,000, Dyson said.

The grants being applied for are the Build Canada Fund, the Gas Tax Priorities fund and the B.C. Air Access Program. While the Build Canada Fund application was unsuccessful, Dyson said the board is working on the others.

“The board has been working hard to meet with federal and provincial delegates to ensure that they understand the value of the airport and realize grant funding,” said Dyson.

They’re hoping to have two-thirds of the cost covered by grant funding.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

twitter.com/AlberniNews

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