On Tuesday, NDP MP Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni) wrote to the Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Amarjeet Sohi, to ask that the application for the Alberni Valley Regional Airport Expansion Project be reconsidered under the New Building Canada Fund.
The Expansion Project, Johns writes, “would bring immediate and long term economic benefits that are greatly needed in the Alberni Valley,” by creating new jobs and supporting the growing Vancouver Island aerospace industry.
“After years of neglect by the Federal Conservatives, the people of the Alberni Valley are looking for a partner in your government,” Johns said in the letter.
Last year the application from the Regional District was denied despite the fact that nearly all criteria were met. The only departmental hurdle remains the lack of scheduled passenger service at the Regional Airport, even though such service is impossible without the upgrades included in the Expansion Project.
“This leaves Alberni Valley in a ‘Catch-22,’” writes Johns, a situation which may force the Regional District to borrow the full amount to cover the project’s cost.
“It is unacceptable to expect local governments to shoulder the full costs of projects like these on their own when their budgets are already under tremendous stress,” Johns writes in the letter.