Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun (left) speaks on the funds for airport infrastructure announced Thursday by Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena, alongside Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas.                                Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun (left) speaks on the funds for airport infrastructure announced Thursday by Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena, alongside Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Province kicks in $500k for Abbotsford airport improvements

Money is going toward expanding taxiway and apron space for two private aerospace companies

The provincial government is kicking in about $500,000 toward upgrades for private aerospace companies at the Abbotsford International Airport, the transportation minister announced Thursday.

The half-million-dollar funding is aimed at expanding taxiway and apron space for new hangars being built for private aerospace companies like Chinook Helicopters.

The funds are coming through the government’s B.C. Air Access program, which B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena said is focusing on small communities this year.

“More than $5 million is going to be invested all around B.C. between 50 per cent and 75 per cent share either (with) local governments or private sector,” Trevena said. “What it is is investing in programs, whether it is removing obstacles, like helping out an airport remove trees that might be blocking a sightline, or whether it’s doing more, so bigger investments in runways and so on.”

In Abbotsford, the funds make up half the cost in the new apron and taxiway space, largely connected to the expansion of the Chinook Helicopters school for piloting helicopters.

“This investment in infrastructure will allow Chinook Helicopters to almost double their output here,” Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said.

“It’s always nice when B.C. Aviation Council and the province come alongside and help, because we can’t do everything out of tax dollars or out of the airport cash flow, either.”

Work on airports is typically federal jurisdiction, but Trevena said the economic impact of maintaining airports is felt throughout the province.

“There’s no question that aviation is key to our province, whether it is through trade, whether it is through travel, or whether it is through industry,” Trevena said. “Dollars are always tight everywhere. What we try and do is leverage, so it’s joint money. We’re investing, the feds will be investing, the local governments will be investing, the private sector, we can hear today, are investing.”

Abbotsford is one of 23 communities whose airports are receiving a total of $5.3 million in grants through the program.

Langley is also among the communities getting some funding through the program, with new solar lighting for the runway, while Delta’s Boundary Bay airport is getting funds for taxiway rehabilitation.

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

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