The Alberni Valley Regional Airport is officially closed to fixed-wing aircraft until the fall, according to airport superintendent Mark Fortune.
“It will probably be closed through to the end of September. That’s when the groundwork will be completed,” said Fortune.
Previously, the western end of the runway had been opened on a reduced basis for aircraft that could land on the shorter strip.
“We’ll be paving, grinding the whole surface and laying a new strip and painting.”
Aside from the groundwork, Bowerman Excavating—who won the $4.2 million contract from the regional district earlier this year—is also doing obstacle location clearing around the edges. New ditches are also being done.
“We’ve moved a lot of dirt but we still have a lot to move. We’re probably one-third into it,” said Fortune.
“A large amount of dirt had to be removed at the east end of the field (the Port Alberni end).
“A lot of that work has been carried out and we’re in the process of doing ditching and establishing a new runway strip.”
The project has gone well and stayed within budget so far, Fortune added. There haven’t been any significant weather delays either, he said.
“Our weather has been such that we’ve had very few rain delays. We’ve only had a couple of rainy days on site.”
The airport’s new GPS system will be installed sometime in the fall, Fortune said.
“Once we have our threshold established and surveyed then we can go ahead with GPS design. The parameters are very tight for the GPS and we just can’t establish it now.”
The regional district is still waiting to hear back on their grant application to the B.C. Air Access Program for new airport runway lighting.
According to Fortune, a response should come within a month or two.