New poll!

[poll id=”10″]

The good news is the new lights and GPS routes are already happening. (new lights are part of the borrowing, see bottom of post).  The bad news is the ACRD has so far been unsuccessful trying to get grants to cover some of the cost for the upgrades and runway lengthening at Alberni Valley Regional Airport.

Approval has already been granted through the Alternate Approval Process which means not enough people signed their disapproval for it to go to referendum.

But now that no grants came through, and even though there is still an outside chance for some grants maybe, the ACRD board including the two City reps (Mayor Ruttan and Councillor Mcleman) are taking a step back and seeing if they should still go through with it.

So? Should they? Vote in the Poll on the right. Full information about the expansion is here. 

Here is a screenshot of the costs FAQ based on how much has to be borrowed.


Send your comments to the ACRD.

More info on the upgrades provided by the CAO of the ACRD.

The cost estimates of the three components of the project are as follows:

  1. The Runway Extension is estimated to cost $5,958,820.
  2. Installation of navigational aids (medium intensity lighting) is estimated to be $1,468,500

The above costs total approximately $7.43 million and were the basis of the grant application to the Strategic Priorities Fund.

  1. Establishing an Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) that would be acceptable to the design of a public GPS approach is estimated to cost $350,000.  This involves managing the OLS which are the trees and land that protrude into the defined flying paths as well as surveying and registering the approaches with Nav Canada. Money is already committed to this project and within the current budget.   A portion of the costs ($180,000) were recovered from the Community Forest Legacy). These OLS costs are not reflected in the $7.43M figure.



28 replies on “Poll. So? Should we still do it? Airport expansion.”

  1. The airport expansion is a much needed improvement — like the connector route to the Inland Island Highway. These are major infrastructure projects that we need if the Alberni Valley is to ever attract business and industry. At $6 million, the cost to the taxpayers is relatively low and it isn’t going to get any cheaper by delaying. Get on with it!

  2. No. The Alternate Approval Process was flawed in that most people did not know about the issue let alone the disapproval process itself. Secondly, it’s not $6million. The loan is not interest free. The total cost closer to $10 million. Next, we have more inportant core services that need our attention, like ageing water mains. That too will cost big money to repair and maintain. Finally, the business case to support the runway expansion is weak. The financial component was poorly done and did not include anything more than a vague cost estimate. The taxpayer’s ability to pay higher taxes was not factored into the equation.

    1. I see a couple of mistakes in my commentary. It should have said “ageing water mains” and I misspelled the word “important.” Please correct this for me Christopher. I don’t see an edit button 🙂

  3. As newer residents of Port Alberni we believe that other things should be done first.
    We purchased three homes here. Taxes are the highest we have ever paid.
    So if it is going to be passed on to us answer is no for now.

  4. This airport has been a white elephant since it opened. Nobody uses the thing and pays except the Drag Racers for one weekend. Lots of talk out of Coulson about grand things could happen which is always nice to hear but never really comes to anything big in the long run. So in my opinion this is really just a back up for the Tofino Airport when it’s socked in. The GPS and lights much needed but the rest is for Wayne’s business and why should we subsidize it? The sneaky way the region got the ok to spend the 7 million with out a referendum vote by all the taxpayers is telling on the weak business plan that would be presented to the already over taxed voters.

  5. While no longer an Alberni resident – my ties remain close – that being said, risk is meant to be taken by those who see opportunity, such that the mechanism of stepping forward and doing something outweighs that of doing nothing. Something is always better than nothing and for too long, the residents and leadership appear to by in large, sat back and taken a let’s wait and see approach. Let me ask a simple question – if all of the valley residents rallied behind the expansion, up to and including for provisions that allow other activities (Thunder in the Valley) opportunities to make use of said strip – do you not think that positive spin, and cashflow is resulting? Companies such as Coulson’s sit up and take more notice when there is community support. Other companies and private personnel may too want to seek investment in the region with an expansion. On the other hand, w/o they will barely register you as a blip on the radar as they overfly Port Alberni and head to Comox/Qualicum – think about connector flights from those areas for passengers to and from other airports.

    1. Great insight, plus it says to the rest of the world that Port Alberni is open for business!

  6. I don’t think the answer could be no at this point. The only wsy forward for the valley is a diversified economy. This would help with population growth and potentially changing our towns image. On the other hand, saying no once again will lead to further stagnation of the economy, ( if possible), higher taxes and more negativity that would keep port alberni in its current 25 yr tailspin.
    If nothing changes, nothing changes. It’s that simple. Let’s step up and embrace change this time!!!

  7. The Alberni Airport expansion is about planning for future growth in a diversified economy. Attracting new business and growing existing business helps to expand the tax base. If the primary selling feature of the Alberni Valley is low property values then the local economy will continue to stagnate. Let’s spend a little now and share the cost of building a better future for ourselves our families and our community.

  8. 1) Flawed approval mechanism
    2) Unproven benefits
    3) We need to be repairing our aging infrastructure ( sewer and watermains)
    4) Alternate highway out of town
    At this time, in my opinion, we should be promoting an alternate highway out of town, which would benefit more people and the local economy.

  9. The original vote should have been for property owners (property tax payers) only. They/we are the ones that will be funding this, not the general public.

    How much are we on the hook for sofar? Is it past the point of no return to say scrub it? Did the Regional district already know it was too late to receive the grant? Duplicity from the people elected to work in our best interests.

  10. I think if we don’t start doing these projects, we will still be where we are right now, but it will be another 10 years like this. I have seen the “no” crowd stall things and the affects of the positive as I have lived on this island. I moved to this beautiful place 8 years ago, seeing what it could be. The recession hit and most places have started to come out of it. We are not at the same level. I have seen Victoria grow over the past 40 years, previously having parts of the city that were very run down, about where parts of our city are now. You never wanted to admit you lived in James Bay, Esquimalt and especially Langford! They are all the places for families to be now. Same with Nanaimo, 10 years ago I was selling fantastic water view homes in the South end for $60,000. Not great houses, but they are still there, renovated now, and now have families living in them. What has helped was going ahead with these projects, like Nanaimo Airport expansion and Victoria’s. I’m not thinking they did it by themselves, but it does help attract others that help boost us. Since Nanaimo expanded and started having different Carriers set up, the surrounding areas took off. A lot was Alberta based flights, but that will be back again. When I moved here most of my Real Estate client base were retired people looking to have money go further and live in a beautiful location. They bought boats, lots of new things, also renovated these homes, spent lots of money in the community, and often had thier families follow. We are not going to get this again sitting still while every one else grows and offers more. We need to move forward with these projects and have the companies see what we offer with our shorelines and the available work force we offer, along with this beautiful valley.

  11. We need to get it done. we need to invest in growth not stalling it. If you want things like Sewers and water mains to be funded, that is City not Regional District like the Airport is. But.. But .. if we can grow as a community from this expansion then money will also be generated back to the city so those other improvements can be done. Its a circle and we need to get it started. We can not rely on the mills and there taxes to generate money for our city anymore. that ship has sailed. We need to look at other industries, like this expansion. Like someone else already posted, when we as a community all positively get behind a project, we can make it a success. But fighting over what..$30 year on taxes to fund this, is self-destructive.

    DO what needs to be done 6 mill. in the big picture is nothing, for the gains could be huge for our children s future in this town. as of now the future does not exist.

  12. Yes, absolutely move forward. This will likely tie in well and give more rise to an alternative highway tieing in withthe RD and more development in the RD and jobs. Already I can see job and development growth at Great central lake, Sproat lake, beaver and cherry creek and of course at the airport centered around aero space industries and support businesses in and around Port Alberni.More people moving here, more demand for flights into Alberni and from corporate business. Put the welcome mat out open for business. $16 or so is worth it to me to diversify and grow our economies

  13. Absolutely!

    I moved away at a young age precisely because Port Alberni lacks meaningful employment opportunities. Some day I will probably like to return.

    Norm Crabtree, former aviation director for the State of Ohio once said, “The airport runway is the most important mainstreet in any town.” Good infrastructure and transportation are essential for economic development. When businesses look at where to locate, one thing they look at is the transportation connectivity to the rest of the world. Nobody wants to open up a business out in the boondocks unless there are other mitigating factors (ie. oil, diamonds, etc.).

    The costs of this extension are minor and give Port Alberni a shot of being something more than just a retirement community. I am glad that a majority of Port Alberni residents see it the same way.

  14. I agree with those who are supporting the expansion. As one commenter said, if nothing changes, nothing changes. That about sums up every single “change” proposed in the Alberni Valley (city and ACRD) since I moved here nearly 40 years ago. And guess what, nothing’s changed! (well, very little). We’re still wringing our hands trying to figure out how to bring newcomers into our paradise, when the answers are right in front of us.
    There is nothing to fear but fear itself. Yes, we’ll have some debt, but the spinoffs should be well worth the investment.

  15. I say go ahead. It seems to me that if we stay the course, this will be one of those “shovel-ready” projects that the federal govt will be looking to fund with their infrastructure investments. If we pause or stop the project now, it will have to start from scratch with approvals and we could miss the boat on investment funds. But even if we have to pay for it, it would be a huge convenience to all of us if we could take a scheduled flight out of the valley to connect to the rest of the world. I have made a lot of use of the Nanaimo airport since it was upgraded and provided more flight options.

  16. We need to put it to a real vote. I smell a rat. 9 out of 10 people I’ve talk with had no idea there was a vote. This expansion may be the best thing that’s happened to the valley in a long time but the voting process was unfair. What is council afraid of ? Give the people a fair vote. If it’s such a great thing they have nothing to worry about.

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