“That boom has created a new demand at the airport in recent months, resulting in the start of WestJet flights to the area,” he says. “The rise in demand has also pushed the North Peace Regional Airport’s parking lot beyond its current capability.” 

Improvements to parking and the water and sewer system at the airport began this summer, and already the airport has seen its July traffic increase 45 per cent over last year. Saugstad argues that funding like this will be essential in further developing the economy in the North Peace. 

“Although it has a lot of economic development potential, it can be difficult for people to get in an out of the region,” he explains. “We also know that access to global market places is a key factor in any economic development initiative, and so investment in our airports not only helps the community, but also helps business develop and job creation.” 

The additional funding will not change the scope of the work being done, but as Peace River Regional District Chair Karen Goodings says, it will help the North Peace Airport Society keep its promise of taxpayers not having to pay for the upgrades. 

The Northern Rockies Regional Airport also received a $250,000 grant for its parking lot upgrades last week.