West Kootenay Regional Airport in Castlegar.

Castlegar seeks funding for airport study

The study will look at ways to improve landing at the airport.

The City of Castlegar wants the Regional District of Central Kootenay to contribute to the $260,000 cost of a study of the Castlegar airport.

Mayor Lawrence Chernoff made the pitch to the regional district board on September 15.

He did not ask for a specific amount, and the board made no decision on his request. Chernoff is the vice-chair of the board.

Chernoff told the Nelson Star that Castlegar city council has already agreed to sign a contract with Jeppesen, an American aeronautics consulting company that will study and recommend ways to improve the landing capabilities of the airport.

Chernoff said there is no funding for the study so far, “but if we don’t get any, we will go ahead anyway. We will find a way.”

He said the study will take nine months, and that it was negotiated when two people from Jeppesen visited Castlegar earlier this year.

In January, the Star published a story based on interviews with experts from Nav Canada (the company that oversees Canada’s air navigation systems) and from Jeppesen in which they both asserted that given current technology there is no fix for the Castlegar airport.

Asked about this, Chernoff said, “These guys are of a totally different opinion. They gave us numerous examples of airports a lot more difficult than ours that they have completed and approved.

“They are the experts, I can tell you that just from having discussions with them. These guys have been involved for 20 plus years.”