The Smithers Airport has received $4 million from the federal government for upgrades.
The money is a part of over $70 million in federal gas tax funds rolled out across the province today.
Mayor Taylor Bachrach called Friday’s announcement “tremendous news for Smithers”
The current terminal was built in the 1960’s
“It’s served up pretty well over the years but it’s age is starting to show. We don’t have any washrooms past security, that’s been a real shortcoming. In general the size of areas like the hold room and some of the other areas just are not big enough to accommodate some of the larger planes.” Bachrach said
In addition to the $4 million Federal contribution, the Town of Smithers plans to invest $2 million in the project from debt financing, to be serviced through airport revenue.
The $6 million project will expand the building by 6,000 sq. ft, install washrooms, upgrade the fire system, and overhaul the check in, baggage and security areas.
The new airport and adjacent buildings will be heated by a geothermal energy system.
“That’s something I’m really excited about, it’s consistent with the federal government’s push to address climate change… an innovative part of the project I’m pretty pumped about.” Bachrach said
He added that the importance of the airport to Smithers and the region cannot be understated.
“It’s a critical transportation link for people getting in and out of a community, whether you are talking about tourism or the mining industry, it’s so important for economic development that we have a competitive and efficient airport.”
Also a part of the wave of federal funding, the Village of Granisle received $637,000 for the Granisle Bioenergy Heating System.
Hazelton received $58,700 in infrastructure funding.