August 17, 2022 By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
The Town of Drumheller has been granted additional funding by the Alberta government to support the installation of runway lights at the Drumheller Municipal Airport.
Mayor Heather Colberg announced during the regular Tuesday, August 2 council meeting the Town had received a letter from Minister of Transportation Prasad Panda informing them of the additional funding.
“The Town received an additional $152,051 that will go towards completion of the airport rehabilitation project,” Mayor Colberg shared during the meeting.
In April, council awarded only the paving portion of the project as the bid for lighting came in over $200,000 higher than the approved $144,000 budget.
Both the paving and lighting projects are supported through the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program – Community Airport Program (STIP – CAP) with the province supporting 75 per cent of the cost, and the municipality responsible for the remaining 25 per cent.
Paving was completed between June 1 and July 15, and included installation of a new drainage system, removal of unstable base material, and repainting of runway, apron, and taxiway markings.
“Since the lighting equipment became unrepairable in 2019, no night operations have been allowed,” shared airport manager Pat Bonneville.
He noted this has also impacted operations during poor visibility conditions, such as rain, snow, fog and dust, which can also occur during the day.
Lighting has also impacted Alberta Health Services (AHS) ability to perform patient transfers from the Drumheller Health Centre, and fuel sales have also been impacted as pilots opt to bypass the Drumheller airport at night for refuelling, and families who may otherwise fly in to watch a Drumheller Dragons game have to decide whether to miss a game or prepare for an overnight stay.