By Emilie Charette
Wildlife is not the first issue that usually springs to mind when considering problems that affect airport safety, especially in this era of x-rays, screening, and limits on liquids. However, it seems to be more of a worry than people might think.
An investment of $469,139 was announced today by Amarjeet Sohi, minister of natural resources and MP for Edmonton Mill Woods, to install three-metre high wildlife fencing at the Grande Prairie Airport.
This fencing will prevent large animals such as moose and deer from making their way onto the runway and disrupting flights and other airport operations. Wildlife can also cause damage to snow clearing equipment, aircraft rescue firefighting vehicles, and other airport safety assets.
“The Grande Prairie Airport is an important hub for residents and businesses in this region,” said Sohi.
“This is why we are supporting safe and reliable airport operations for Grande Prairie residents, many of whom depend on their local airport not only for personal travel and business, but also for access to specialized and emergency medical care in larger centres.”
The airport ranks 23rd among Canada’s busiest airports by passenger traffic, with flights to Calgary and Edmonton.
“These investments will improve access to safe, efficient, and accessible air transportation options, and will help us deliver on our promise to build safer, healthier, and stronger communities across Canada,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau in a press release.
“Our government recognizes that local airports are major contributors to the economic growth and social well-being of smaller communities.
“In addition to supporting travel and tourism, local airports are key connectors for business, health care, social services, and emerging development sectors.”
Funding for this project will come from Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), which has already provided the Grande Prairie Airport with more than $22.1 million in funding to date for 19 safety projects.
Emilie Charette is a graduate of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s journalism program and a member of Troy Media’s student internship program. She is also the former editor of the Emery Weal, which is published weekly by SAIT.
For more information on Troy Media’s internship program, contact our publisher.