The Norman Stibbs Airfield on the Kootenay Lake waterfront is owned and run by the City of Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson airport repair will have big price-tag

Fixing runway could cost $1M

City managers have told council that repairs to Nelson’s airport runway could cost more than $1 million.

That’s if a complete re-paving job is needed.

If all it needs is localized repair of depressions in the runway surface, the cost would be about $161,000 – but that’s still an amount larger than the city’s airport reserve budget.

Staff presented these numbers at council’s Oct. 21 meeting.

The city, which owns and runs the airport, received an aviation consultant’s report in September that said the airport is poorly maintained and hazardous, with depressions in the paved runway surface and deficiencies in maintenance, signage, obstacle marking, data collection, training, and long-term planning.

Related: Expert report highlights safety issues at Nelson airport

“The cost is a bit of a shot in the dark at the moment,” Mayor John Dooley told the Star. “We need an analysis to see what’s necessary down there. It might be simple, it might be complicated.”

Council voted to undertake such an analysis.

They will commission a technical study that will follow an official federal government process for assessing and repairing airport pavement.

Council decided not to do any repair work until the assessment report is received and in the meantime the city will issue a written notification to pilots that advises them of the runway depressions.

After the assessment is complete, a full repair cost estimate will be presented to council to be considered for next year’s budget.

It is uncertain what repairing the runway surface will involve because there is a garbage dump under the airport. Closed down and buried in the 1970s, it contains everything from residential and industrial waste to old car bodies.

The Star asked Dooley whether the potential expense of the repairs might tip the balance on the question of whether the airport is needed at all.

“The options and the alternatives are not very good at this stage, for doing something other than what’s there,” he said, adding that the city’s ongoing difficulty in getting the neighbouring transfer station land rehabilitated is an indicator of the complexity of re-purposing land built on a garbage dump.

Asked if the airport could do its medical evacuation, wilderness access, and wildfire fighting functions with a helipad rather than a full runway, Dooley said, “Yes a lot of it probably could, but at the same time the way it appears at the moment, we are not looking at anything different on that site for the next five years. You can’t just abandon it, there is a need. But that is a bigger conversation for sure.”

Related: Promised park at Nelson recycle depot site still a long way off



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Slocan Valley abattoir sees some positives in proposed rule changes

The province wants to increase livestock production and processing in rural areas

Two new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region is at 533

LETTER: Nelson, we have a problem

From reader Kevin LePape

Selkirk College international students get helping hands from Korean moms

We Care K-Moms have been shopping and delivering food to new arrivals

New trial ordered for man found guilty of the 2010 murder of his wife in Arrow Lakes

Peter Beckett was found guilty of murdering his wife 10 years ago

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Lessons from a pandemic: How to design a nursing home that’s safe and love-filled

A look at how one care home is battling the pandemic with the social needs of the elderly in their care

Winter tires, chains now mandatory along most B.C. highways

Drivers without the proper winter tires – which must also be in good condition – can be fined $109

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer concerned with rising COVID-19 cases

“There’s still so much we don’t know and we’re learning everyday about this particular virus.”

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Most Read