Nanaimo Airport targets federal money for expansion

NANAIMO – Terminal building expected to cost upwards of $11 million to deal with passenger loads.

The Nanaimo Airport is eyeing approximately $7 million from the federal and provincial governments for an expansion project at the Cassidy site.

A total of $11 million will be needed for expansion of the terminal building. The airport will be applying to the New Building Canada fund for $7 million, or two-thirds of the total amount, and the rest will come from the airport, said Mike Hooper, Nanaimo Airport president and CEO.

The project, if approved, would allow the airport to better service peak times, including the busy summer season. The airport has been hitting record numbers for five consecutive years, Hooper said.

“We’d expand the terminal building and at some point, we need to put a customs facility in,” said Hooper. “All airports, whether you’re in YVR (Vancouver) or Victoria or Comox or Nanaimo, there’s always going to be some sort of project … it’s just an ongoing process meeting that growing demand.”

The New Building Canada fund was launched by the federal government, but Hooper said applications will have to be made to governments on the federal and provincial level.

“It’s the provincial government that’s managing it on behalf of the federal government and it’s all for infrastructure, transportation and bridges and airports and ports,” said Hooper.

The Regional District of Nanaimo board of directors approved a motion at its regular board meeting Tuesday night to provide a letter of support to the Nanaimo Airport in the bid.

Hooper said the airport should know if it’s a successful New Building Canada funding applicant by mid-2015.