Council has decided that they would like to apply for the new, provincial Rural Dividend Fund, to be used towards airport enhancements.
Among the other projects named are the fish hatchery expansion, circle pathway upgrades, solar panel system expansion, broadband upgrades, tourism certification, agricultural development, sledding trails upgrades and upgrade to town facilities.
Council debated which upgrade would have the most regional economic impact. Immediately, Coun. Rick Lundrigan shot down the solar panel systems expansion and circle pathway upgrades because these do not fulfill the criteria.
I don’t see that as an economic driver for the region and they do look at it as a regional thing,” said Coun. Rick Lundrigan.
Lundrigan championed upgrading internet services, saying that more business is done online and that this region needs better internet, which would add to the likelihood of a successful grant application.
However, Coun. Tim Anderson pushed for the airport enhancement over broadband upgrades, and that idea caught on, even with Lundrigan.
Lundrigan asked whether District chief administrative officer Michael Glavin has any plans in mind for upgrades, to which Glavin pointed out resurfacing could be it.
Lundrigan mentioned that water, which is currently non-potable, and the fencing could be upgraded.
“I took a drive to the airport and I was impressed,” said Coun. John Siebenga. “Sounds like me that is something that we should be investing in. We’ve got a lot of stuff there and it’s looking really good, I think I kind of agree that if we can get money to somehow build that place up, I think it’s well worth it.”
Glavin also mentioned that the airport upgrades can be funded by the gas tax grant, which has a new category for small airports.