The city’s airport expansion project is at a standstill as officials wait to hear if funds will be secured through the federal government’s New Building Canada Fund.
City council voted to officially support the project — a requirement recently added by the province — at Monday night’s council meeting.
"The province has reviewed it and one of the requests that they’ve given is to have a council resolution in support of the project," said Tim Sanderson, director of transportation services. "It hasn’t slowed down the application process or anything because I don’t think it could possibly go any slower."
The city submitted its application nearly three months ago through the province, as it is Premier Greg Selinger who will need to raise this project as a priority to the federal government.
The federal government’s $14-billion New Building Canada Fund began taking applications on March 31. Brandon hopes to tap into the $10-billion provincial-territorial infrastructure component, which includes $1 billion set aside in the Small Communities Fund for local projects in communities with fewer than 100,000 residents.
"I think for them it’s more just an added level of security that we’re committed to it," Sanderson said of the city’s resolution, adding the original application included a letter from the treasurer saying the project is already in the financial plan.
The major $8.8-million overhaul would see the McGill Field airport terminal building expanded to three times its current size, in order to better accommodate daily air service currently provided by WestJet and potentially attract service growth.
Included in the plans are a dedicated check-in area, spacious boarding lounge, additional space for security screening, separate arrivals area, new baggage carousel and improved network connectivity via fibre optic installation.
"The redevelopment will allow for a substantial increase in efficiency, amenities and comfort, especially in the event of delays," Sanderson wrote in his report.
The current space is confined, lacks adequate washroom facilities and offers seating for a maximum of 64 passengers, far below the 78 maximum seating capacity of the WestJet aircraft.
Sanderson provided an estimated financial breakdown of the project over a three-year period, if the funding is approved.
The proposed project would be split three ways — the federal government providing $2.9 million, the province $2.9 million and the city $2.98 million.
All three sources would each provide roughly $492,000 the first year and $2.17 million the second year. The city would provide roughly $316,000 in year three, while the province and federal government would each provide $241,000.
Sanderson said they are at a standstill now, waiting for an OK to get started.
"At this point in time, any dollars that we were to spend further on this project would not be covered under the project," he said.
While the city was hopeful to get started this summer or fall, it’s looking like that goal might be slipping out of reach.
"We’ve got a number of steps that we need to do before construction actually starts," he said. "The big thing is we have to actually get all the engineered drawings done and all those sorts of technical things in order to put together the bid package, which is going to take a couple months."
Work could be done during the winter, but that’s dependent on the funding plan.
Sanderson expects the construction to take between 14 months to two years, depending on how the plans end up looking.
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