Emergency crews use the Cowichan Valley’s only airport. It is run by the Duncan Flying Club. (Citizen file)

Air transport in the Cowichan Valley subject of new study

Will evaluate region’s growing need of air transport over next 30 years

Ladysmith’s status as the nearest community to Vancouver Island’s second-busiest airport isn’t stopping its regional district partners from taking a closer look at how Cowichan Valley air needs are being mer.

A study is being commissioned by the Cowichan Valley Regional District to determine the current status of air transport in the region, and what will be required to meet growing demands.

Amy Melmock, manager of the CVRD’s Economic Development Cowichan, said the EDC is undertaking the Cowichan Air Transport Study because diversifying and strengthening the ways that people and goods are transported to and from the region, whether it be by air, sea, rail or roads, is a cornerstone of the Valley’s economic future.

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Melmock said the only existing airstrip currently operating in the Cowichan region on Langtry Road is leased to the Duncan Flying Club by the gravel company Butler Brothers.

She said the airstrip is predicted to have a finite life span due to its location and the long-term resource needs of the gravel company.

“But the study is not intended to pinpoint a site for a new air transport facility in Cowichan,” she said.

“Instead, it is aimed at quantifying the demand for new services, based on stakeholder consultations and comprehensive research undertaken by a qualified air transport consultant. The study will examine whether new air transport facilities in Cowichan would support the development of key sectors and the public safety needs of a growing residential and business population in Cowichan.”

Melmock said the study will map out the business case for air transportation by forecasting the demand for these services over the next three decades.

RELATED STORY: CVRD LOOKS FOR WAYS TO EXPAND LOCAL ECONOMY

“This information will be of value to local government and private interests alike in assessing future economic opportunities in Cowichan related to air transport,” she said.

Melmock said the EDC will form an air transport project advisory panel, made up of current and potential air transport users and operators, business and community interests, local government and First Nations representatives, to assist with the study, which is expected to take approximately six months to complete.

It’s estimated that the study will cost approximately $30,000.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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