An Air North flight sits on the apron at the Whitehorse airport. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

An Air North flight sits on the apron at the Whitehorse airport. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

Federal government funding repairs to Whitehorse airport

Upgrades are needed on the tarmac

The federal government is contributing $3.8 million toward upgrades at Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.

“This investment will help ensure continued safe and reliable airport operations for Yukoners, many of whom depend on their air travel not only for personal travel, but also for access to routine and emergency medical care in larger centres,” said Yukon MP Larry Bagnell in a statement.

The funding will allow for the rehabilitation of the taxiway, which is the path an aircraft uses in transit to the takeoff runway. The funds will also help with concrete apron paving, in order to refresh the area where airplanes are parked when not flying.

The project is one of 86 projects at 63 Canadian airports selected for funding in 2021.

Other projects include over $17 million dollars to rehabilitate a runway in Fort Nelson, British Columbia, more than $1.1 million in Manitoba to install wildlife control fencing and $58,000 for airfield drainage improvements at the Prince Albert Airport in Saskatchewan.

The funding is part of the Airports Capital Assistance Program, which recently received a top-up of funding and expansion of eligible airports for a two year time period.

The fund is meant to support airports with rehabilitating surfaces, improving lighting and electrical systems and purchasing snow and ice removal equipment.

“These investments will improve access to safe, reliable and efficient air transportation options, and will help us deliver our promise to build safer, healthier and stronger communities across Canada. This is more important than ever as we reopen our economies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.

In 2014 the Yukon Government awarded a $3.5 million contract to Norcope Enterprises in order to replace 250 concrete apron panels at the airport. A year later defects in the job prompted the government to launch a lawsuit seeking the cost of the work.

Norcope countered with a lawsuit of their own which blamed permafrost shifting for cracked pavement.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

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