The runway surface at the Burns Lake airport needs to be replaced if we are to avoid its closure. I support the regional district and the Burns Lake Airport Society in their collective efforts to retain our airport. A short-term property tax increase is needed to achieve this end.
My 30-year history as one of the Burns Lake doctors, coupled with my experience in working in very remote communities in the Arctic, has taught me the value of a functional airport for timely evacuation of serious medical patients. Our significant distance from Vancouver is greatly magnified when you have just had a heart attack, or broken your neck. Prince George is not a big enough centre to definitively handle problems such as these. Timely access to tertiary management in the city is imperative for a good outcome. I have spoken with more than one person who has experienced the private jet ride to Vancouver and been very appreciative that this service was available. Without our airport, this severely injured patient would be stabilized to the best of our abilities and resources here in Burns Lake and would then be forced to a lengthly road trip to another community that did have an airport prior to the flight to Vancouver.
A functional airport is a benefit to our local economy in many other ways. Local industry can use it. The forest service and different mining ventures can use it. We are becoming more and more popular as a stop over point for private pilots destined for Alaska and northern Canada. Our fuel is cheaper and we have no landing fees – say, as compared to Smithers. In the future, if we ever hope to get scheduled air service, we will need a functional airport.
Please vote in the Feb. 27 referendum in favour of Burns Lake continuing to have a functional airport.
Sincerely, Greg Norman.
Burns Lake, B.C.