A lack of funding thus far from the federal government may postpone expansion plans at the Brandon airport.
Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire is hoping that funding will be announced this fall to get the project started.
"We’ve just been pushing really hard," Maguire said Friday. "It’s a favourite project of mine, and we know it’s an important project for this region."
The major $8.8-million project would expand the McGill Field airport terminal building to three times its current size, to better accommodate and encourage daily air service currently provided by WestJet.
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.
"We have heard only positive feedback from the provincial and federal officials," city manager Scott Hildebrand said. "But until the money is in our hands, there is not much we can do."
Costs for the proposed project would be split three ways, with the federal and provincial governments each providing $2.9 million, and the city $2.98 million.
Mayor Shari Decter Hirst hoped to have the project started this construction season, with work on the interior through the winter.
The city has had many conversations with WestJet about potentially expanding service routes, according to the mayor.
"Right now, we just don’t have enough room inside the terminal to have multiple flights going at the same time," she said. "It would be incredibly challenging."
Maguire confirmed that some funding through the new Building Canada Fund has been announced for projects outside Manitoba.
However, there is no timeline for money proposed for the airport expansion.
"I’m sure hoping that it’s this fall at some point," Maguire said. "I’d like to be able to make sure that if they can’t get something done this fall, then it’s ready to go for next year."
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