British Columbia

Ottawa spending $6.6M to help expand airport in the Interior

The federal government will spend $6.6 million to share the cost of the Kamloops Airport expansion project, a project designed to increase tourism and attract investment to B.C.'s southern Interior.

The federal government will spend $6.6 million to share the cost of the Kamloops Airport expansion project, a project designed to increase tourism and attract investment to B.C.'s southern Interior.

Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn announced $6.6 million to share the cost of the Kamloops Airport expansion project. ((CBC))

Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said Wednesday the 700-metre lengthening of the main runway, for example,will allow direct flights to eastern Canada and across the United States.

"The expansion is a major step to position Kamloops to attract long-haul flights and new destinations throughout North America," he said.

The B.C. government made a $4 million commitment in March of last year to the project,which totals $10.6 millionand includes upgraded navigation aids, lighting and terminal facilities.

Local officials are calling the runway expansion, to be completed by late 2008 or early 2009, the biggest economic boost for the city since the construction of the Coquihalla Highway.

The 700-metre-long expansion of the main runway will allow long-haul flights throughout North America. ((CBC))

Kamloops MLA Claude Richmond, who was manager of the airport before he went into politics, saidit is a vital investment to draw tourists and new business to the region.

"You build a mile of highway, you can drive for a mile. If you build a mile of runway, you can go around the world," he said.

"But what's even more important, the world can come to us, and that's exactly what's going to happen with the expansion of this airport, and all the navigational aids, and the expanded terminal."

Nancy Green-Raine, director of skiing at Sun Peaks Resort in Kamloops,said the expansion is a huge boost for the tourism industry.

"We've been really blocked in our rate of growth because of our lack of access from eastern Canada. It's long overdue and we're really, really excited about it," she said.

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