Sarnia airport granted $580,000 for improvements

Paul Morden – The Sarnia Observer, March 13, 2019

The federal government made it official Tuesday – a taxiway and part of the arrival and departure apron at the Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport will get a shave and repave this year.

London West MP Kate Young, parliamentary secretary to the science and sport minister and the public services and procurement and accessibility minister, announced $583,665 in federal funding for new asphalt and upgraded airfield guidance signs at the city-owned airport in Sarnia.

“Whether we travel for business or pleasure, airports like the Chris Hadfield Airport play an important role in our regional transportation system,” Young said. “They connect us and help to bring us together as a nation.”

She was in Sarnia to make the announcement on behalf of Transport Minister Marc Garneau, who, like the Sarnia native the city’s airport is named for, was a Canadian astronaut.

“We’re really excited about getting this done,” said airport manager Clare Webb.

He expected the work will be carried out in spring or early summer, thanks to the funding from the Transport Canada Airports Capital Assistance Program.

Young said the work will include grinding down existing pavement on the taxiway and replacing it with a new layer of asphalt, and replacing the asphalt and base of part of the main apron.

“This might not sound all that sexy but, believe me, when it comes to airports this is so important,” Young said.

The project will also see six airfield guidance signs replaced with nine new signs.

“We could always stand more business,” Webb said about how busy the airport is these days. “We’re scheduled to get a third flight on May 1.”

He added Sarnia’s airport is now serviced by Air Canada Dash 8 aircraft.

“We’re really happy with the service Air Canada Jazz is giving us right now,” Webb said.

Passengers can go through security in Sarnia and change planes in Toronto to fly anywhere in the world, he said.

“We’ve got great service for a small community.”

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said he took the opportunity Tuesday to speak with Young about the ongoing need for improved passenger rail service for the city.

“Communities can’t function without transportation,” Bradley said.

The mayor’s comments about passenger rail service are “a point well taken,” Young said.

“We hear a lot about the Quebec to Windsor corridor, but we also have to remember the people of Sarnia and how they’re making their way to and from the hubs.”

Young said she will pass the message on to the transport minister.

pmorden@postmedia.com

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