Wednesday, August 21, 2013

City authorizes agreement with Airport Authority for Airport rehabilitation

The Prince Rupert Airport Authority provided a bit of an eye opening report on the state of repair of the  infrastructure at YPR, with a lengthy list of concerns ranging from failing mechanical systems, serious concerns over seismic issues at the airport and the need for refurbishment of runway and roadways at the airport site.

We previewed the talking points for Council's Monday session with this blog post from Monday morning, which outlined the major points for consideration at the council session that night.

Rick Reed, provided the guided tour of the nooks and crannies of the Airport site, offering up a worrisome review of many of the airport's key mechanical processes, that should they fail could require the airport to close.

One of the key items of concern is the seismic nature of the airport building, which should a serious seismic event occur, could result in many injuries or potential fatalities should any incident occur on the North Coast.

You can review some of his talking points on the nature of the airport's many issues from our City Council Timeline, as well as review some of the comments from Council members on the topic.

The City's Video Archive also has the full presentation, including the slide show review that Mr. Reed provided to Council on Monday night. The presentation runs from 4:30 to the 20 minute mark.

The request of council was for a loan through the Municipal Finance Authority program that would see some 7 million dollars in refurbishment take place at the airport, in effect creating an entirely new structure for the region, with improved facilities and terminal infrastructure in place.

That loan agreement would not impact on Prince Rupert taxpayers, as the Airport Authority has plans to institute user fees to cover the cost of the twenty year repayment program for the 7 million dollar loan.

The template for development of YPR would seem to be a similar airport project at Boundary Bay airport, located southeast of Vancouver in Delta.

That airport was recently refurbished at a cost of approximately 5 million dollars.

Some background the Boundary Bay airport can be found below.

Boundary Bay Airport
Corporation of Delta

A number of City Council members spoke in favour of the loan arrangement, outlining the need to offer up a good impression of the city, with the airport sometimes being the first impression that visitors and would be investors would have of the region.

To gain an appreciation of that aspect of the airport's importance to the community, the Airport Authority has the video below, currently running on their website, which highlights both the community and the airport's role as a transportation conduit.

As events evolved at Council on Monday night, it would turn out that Council had already approved the funding arrangement in their Closed session of 5 PM, a development which was revealed at the tail end of the Public session of the council meeting.

An interesting bit of civic procedure that outlined how Council had already made their decision, before the public session and YPR presentation had already started.

A timeline of events which would seem to have made the Airport Authority presentation more of a project update, than that of a request for a loan.

Council began the process of approval of the arrangement with first, second and third readings of the bylaw authorizing the loan agreement in the public session and moving forward the prospect of a rejuvenated YPR.

Some of the media items on the Agreement can be found below:

Northern View-- Prince Rupert airport to borrow $7 million for renovations and repairs
CFTK-- Badly Needed Reno's Approved for Prince Rupert Airport

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