(Westerly file photo)

Long Beach Airport receives $431K grant

Tofino-Ucluelet's regional airport looks ahead to upgrades.

Long Beach Airport celebrated a significant funding boost last week.

B.C.’s provincial government announced nearly $600,000 in funding for two Vancouver Island airports on Thursday, March 18, with Long Beach receiving $431,025 and Courtenay Airpark receiving $159,446

Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne suggested the West Coast’s portion will go towards a fire protection improvement project at Long Beach.

“Projects like these provide regional jobs in the lead up to rebuilding airport activity as the pandemic subsided, and they leave lasting upgrades that will benefit both airports for years,” Osborne wrote in a Facebook post.

The funding is coming from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure as part of the provincial government’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan and B.C. Air Access Program grants.

“We know the pandemic has caused financial stress for many industries and significantly impacted our aviation sector throughout B.C., including our community airports,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming said through the March 18 announcement. “But we’re also looking to better days ahead, post-pandemic. That’s why we’re taking action to support communities with important infrastructure upgrades so we can boost jobs, tourism and trade that will give us a head start with B.C.’s economic recovery.”

The B.C. Air Access Program is in its seventh year and is designed to help communities pay for safety improvements to their airports as well as increase economic opportunities and address environmental concerns.

“Our regional airports keep us interconnected, and supporting these facilities helps our communities to thrive, especially at a time when we are all facing so many challenges,” said Alberni Clayoquot Regional District chair John Jack through the announcement. “We are glad to share in this collaborative approach to make sure we have the resources we all need for safe travel.”

The announcement adds that the B.C. Air Access Program has committed over $32 million to 51 airports since 2017.

“This funding support makes a real difference in communities, especially after a year like 2020,” said Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard. “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.”

andrew.bailey@westerlynews.caLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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