Also on Thursday, the City of Brandon released concept designs for the redevelopment of the Brandon Municipal Airport.
The plans have been a long time in coming, much like last year’s WestJet announcement that Brandon would finally have commercial passenger air service.
But it has been worth the wait.
By all accounts, including WestJet’s, the new Brandon-to-Calgary route has been doing very well, with the vast majority of flights well filled by air travellers.
As such, the current clunky airport design has got to go, in order to keep passengers and WestJet happy with the local service.
As the city reported yesterday, the new redevelopment plan includes a dedicated check-in area that can accommodate self check-in kiosks, an improved baggage flow to baggage handling area, a spacious boarding lounge, proper washroom facilities, a larger seating area, a separate arrivals area and a new baggage carousel.
But the project isn’t cheap — the city says the estimated costs falls between $7.3 and $8.3 million. That price tag also includes a new fibre optic installation project that the city says is necessary to improve network connectivity. The $800,000 plan includes digging a trench from downtown, along First Street to the Brandon Municipal Airport to bring more of a robust connection to the facility.
Based on the drawings provided by the city, the updated airport will be no Taj Mahal, but it will certainly be a welcome esthetic improvement — and with any luck, functional and efficient.
There is, of course, a rather large caveat on this project. Its future is highly dependent upon a funding decision out of Ottawa through the federal government’s Building Canada Plan. The project already has received financial commitments from the municipal and provincial governments.
Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire already took the federal government’s parliamentary secretary for infrastructure and communities, Peter Braid, on a tour of the facility earlier this month. But that won’t necessarily translate into cash in hand.
Once the city makes its application for infrastructure funding for this, and other major projects in the city — which it will be able to do as of Monday morning — the ball will be in the federal government’s court.
Let’s hope our airport plans aren’t grounded before they even take off.