A notice to pilots warning of an uneven runway surface at the Nelson airport has been lifted.
In November the city hired a paving contractor to fill in a number of dips in the runway surface that caused the city to issue the notice stating that landing could be risky.
“We took the dips out of the surface which is good in an immediate sense,” the city’s head of public works, Colin Innes said, “but the bigger piece we need to solve is what is going on underneath the runway so you don’t get those dips in the future. Unfortunately this will not solve that piece of it, but it will make it so people like BC Air Ambulance can land here in the meantime.”
Innes said the notice left it up to the discretion of individual pilots on whether to land.
“It meant that the pilot took on the risk of landing, so they could say, ‘No, that is not worth the risk.’”
He said there is currently no budget for the larger repair, but the stop-gap work was affordable.
According to BC Emergency Health Services, which operates all medical air evacuations, there has been a yearly average of 23 fixed wing and five helicopter medical air evacuations from the Nelson airport over the past five years.
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.
City council later decided it needed a more detailed technical study of what a comprehensive repair would look like and what it would cost. The report is expected to be complete by the spring.