Recent History – 2004-2006
By Gary Rusak
Although overall aircraft movement was down from 2003, Dawson Creek city councillor Alvin Stedel sees the silver lining in the clouds above.
“In the last five months of 2004 it actually increased so we are on an upward move,” said Stedel after the regular city council meeting on Monday. “That’s a good thing.”
According to a report submitted to city council by airport clerk Gladys Ingram, the total number of aircraft movements in 2004 was 6,801 down from 6,836 in 2003. However, in the last four out of six months the number of movements substantially increased over last year. The highest total of movements in a month was 785 in July 2004, an increase from 633 during the same month last year.
“The more flights, the more personnel and more revenue for the city,” said Stedel. “The sky is the limit. Hopefully we will be able to keep the airport more vibrant and expanding rather than diminishing.”
With this idea in mind, council passed a resolution to alter the terminal fees for aircraft landing at the Dawson Creek Airport. The terminal fees start at $28 for aircraft with 10 to 15 seats and top off at $203.76 for aircraft holding 90 to 125 seats. As well, the landing fees have been adjusted with a $4 charge per 1,000 kg for craft 21,000 kg and less and topping off at $5.80 per 1,000 kg for craft 45,100 kg and more.
“We have been taking a bit of criticism because our fees have been a little higher than the average,” said Stedel. “Now the fees are going to be pegged at the average, but for anything over 60 (seats) we are actually going to have the lowest fee per person in the province.”
Stedel said that the prices were set to attract more business to the airport. “It sends a message out that we are trying to be competitive and attract those kind of aircraft here,” he said.
Mayor Wayne Dahlen said that despite NAV Canada’s plan to pull its services by October and a recent report by the B.C. Progress Board that recommended that the Fort St. John and Dawson Creek facilities be combined, the city is doing all it can to support the airport.
“We are sending out a message that we believe firmly that this airport is needed,” he said. “(Fort St. John) Mayor (Steve) Thorlakson agrees with us that our airport is required and we support their airport. It does send a message that we are here for the long haul and committed to keep this airport open.”