The Courtenay Airpark has received $159,446 in government funds for infrastructure upgrades.
The money is the result of two grant applications filed by the Courtenay Airpark Association (CAA) to the B.C. Air Access Program.
“We applied for a number of grants, but we were approved for two of them,” said CAA vice-president Ray Henault. “One is to do line-painting and crack-filling on our runway and taxiways and aprons. The second one is to upgrade or replace our floatplane ramp. That floatplane ramp has been there for quite a while and is in need of repairs so we are just delighted to be able to do that.”
Many of the floatplanes that land in Courtenay are not amphibious, and thereby do not have the option of landing on the runway. The ramp enables the transfer onto the airpark property itself (via dollies) for parking, either in the hangars or the airplane parking areas.
Henault said the association is hopeful the repairs and upgrades can be completed by the fall.
“The line-painting can’t start until the weather improves, and the work on the floatplane ramp still requires some co-ordination with the environmentalists and the City of Courtenay. But the planning is done,” he said. “So this is very good news for us, because it provides some upgrades that are essential, and it also provides for a much more attractive airpark overall.”
The B.C. Air Access Program, now in its seventh year, is a cost-share program that provides funding to assist communities with improvements to their airport infrastructure that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to achieve. This can include funds to support safety improvements, increase economic opportunities and address environmental concerns.
The CAA will contribute approximately 25 per cent of the cost for improvements.
The CAA is a volunteer organization, with 116 members.
“We are a very busy airport,” said Henault. “It gets a lot of traffic locally and it gets a lot of itinerant traffic – folks going up and down the Island.”
“This funding support makes a real difference in communities, especially after a year like 2020,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “The Courtenay Airpark is a favourite for people out enjoying a walk and wanting to see small aircraft up close. These repairs will help make sure everyone in the air and on the ground is able to enjoy the experience safely.”