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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The North Peace Regional Airport has received $217,360 from the federal government to purchase a new sweeper.

The ministry of transport has provided over $14 million through the Government of Canada for projects and equipment to help with safe airport operations across local and regional airports in British Columbia.

The funding was made available through Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program, said Carolyn Turner, the North Peace Regional Airport managing director.

Currently, the airport operates with two 20-year-old runway sweepers, which the maintenance staff have kept operable.

The airport sought funding as the maintenance costs have increased, parts have been hard to find, and the sweeper technology is outdated.

Turner says airports can apply for replacement equipment through the assistance program once a predetermined lifecycle period has been reached, which is 20 years for the runway sweepers.

After applying for the new equipment, the North Peace Airport Service, which operates the airport, was permitted to replace one sweeper in 2021 that will be delivered in 2023 with a predetermined procurement value of $395,200.

After the contribution calculations, Airports Capital Assistance Program’s contribution is 55 percent of the procurement value to a maximum of $217,360.

The airport service conducted a request for proposal for the sweeper, and the successful bidder was M-B Companies Ltd., a division of Aebi Schmidt.

The North Peace Airport Service provides infrastructure for scheduled and charter air, commercial, and corporate and general aviation aircraft. It ensures that other air services, such as air ambulance and search and rescue, can also operate at the airport.

Turner says that running an airport is costly, and they can sometimes struggle to raise enough money to continue to operate, especially following the pandemic.

She adds that Airports Capital Assistance Program addresses this by supporting projects that improve regional airport safety, protect airport assets and reduce operating costs.

The airport will seek further funding to replace the other sweeper with plans to tender and order in the next couple of years for delivery in 2024.

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.