Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff told Nelson city council on Monday that the Columbia Basin Trust is contributing $150,000 to a study aimed at improving landing rates at the Castlegar airport.
He said Areas I and J of the Regional District of Central Kootenay have contributed $10,000 each.
The full cost of the study is $260,000.
“We are trying to open the Kootenays up,” Chernoff told council. “We are one hour from Calgary and Vancouver and we want those people to come here.
“So you need reliability, and with reliability comes economic development.”
Chernoff explained that international aviation consultant Jeppesen will study the possibility of using a newly developed type of Required Navigation Performance (RNP) that will function during take-off. RNP, a satellite based navigation system, has until recently only been capable of improving landings, not take-off, according to Chernoff.
He said a consultant’s report commissioned earlier this year by the City Castlegar (which owns the airport) showed that if the airport were reliable, its use could increase by 60 to 100 per cent.
If the Jeppeson study shows improvements are possible, they will then consult with national airlines, which would need to have the appropriate technology in its planes to operate in Castlegar.
Chernoff did not ask Nelson council for a specific contribution, and the question of whether to contribute was referred to management staff for analysis, to be brought back to a future meeting.
“If you want to be the leaders, here is a great opportunity,” Chernoff said.