The City of Quesnel is hoping to receive a grant this year so it can rebuild the helipad at the airport.
The City is applying for a grant through the British Columbia Air Access Program (BCAAP) to reconstruct the helipad at the Quesnel Regional Airport after council directed staff to submit the application at the Jan. 7 council meeting.
The goal of the BCAAP is to enhance the long-term potential of B.C.’s aviation sector by assisting airports with funding capital infrastructure projects that help maintain safe and reliable airport facilities and/or result in significant, incremental economic benefit; improve the environmental performance of the airport; and/or provide benefits to medevac and aerial wildfire suppression, according to a report from Jeff Norburn, the City’s director of community services.
Under the program, projects may receive funding of up to 75 per cent of eligible project costs.
The City has applied for and been successful in obtaining funding from the BCAAP three times in the past — in 2016 for security gates and an aerodrome instrument approach upgrade, in 2018 for LED runway and precision approach path indicator lighting upgrades and in 2019 for replacing the airside sidewalks.
The estimated eligible costs of reconstructing the helipad are $448,650. Ineligible costs for the project include design, engineering and geotechnical studies if required, which are estimated to cost the City $16,000.
“The helipad is essential infrastructure that allows helicopters to land and refuel at the airport, making it critical for wildfire suppression efforts,” airport supervisor Jon Pucek told council. “The new helipad also includes a fuel separation system, which will improve the environmental impact of the airport.”
The City’s draft 2020-2024 capital plan has incorporated the helipad project into the budget, with the assumption that $336,488 in grant funding will be received through the BCAAP. The City’s share of the project cost is $128,162 — 25 per cent of the project’s eligible costs, plus ineligible costs of $16,000 — and this is budgeted to come from gas tax funds, with no impact on municipal taxation, according to Norburn’s report.
The project will not proceed at this time if the City does not get the grant.