A fire fighting helicopter refuels at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport on Sunday, June 16. TONY SHUMUK PHOTO

Alberni Valley airport committee asking for feedback

Online survey launched asking about future of regional airport

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) is looking for public feedback about the future of Port Alberni’s airport.

The ACRD and the Alberni Valley Regional Airport (AVRA) Advisory Committee have hired a pair of consultants to draft a Strategic Plan for the airport that will guide future operations and development of the AVRA.

Consultants Mark Duncan and Andrew Cuthbert attended a virtual AVRA Advisory Committee meeting on Dec. 2 to present their project plan and key dates.

The plan will start with a survey, open to the public until Jan. 15, 2021. The survey seeks input from interested parties, stakeholders, First Nations and the public on a variety of topics related to the future vision and use of the airport.

“What we’re doing right at the moment is really gathering information,” said Duncan. “Between now and our target date of January 15, what we hope to do is get the results of the survey, put together some comparison airports, do a preliminary SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and develop a strawman vision.”

Prior to the Dec. 2 meeting, consultants held interviews with around 15 stakeholders and tenants of the AVRA. They used those interviews to put together the survey.

Consultants are hoping to hold a facilitated workshop in February, which will lead to a draft report for review. The final report is expected to come out in March 2021.

Duncan pointed out to the advisory committee that the airport’s runway is already being used by the military and a number of private jets. Viking Air also used the runway for testing earlier this year.

“Your airport is starting to get known,” said Duncan.

The survey can be found on the ACRD’s website at www.acrd.bc.ca or here. All answers will remain anonymous. The survey is open until Jan. 15, 2021.

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