Is WestJet/Castlegar issue still alive?

If no (recent) news is good news locals may feel encouraged

The Bombardier Q400 turboprop is the workhorse that will handle new regional service

It was in the fall of 2012 with considerable fanfare that the highly successful WestJet airlines announced the imminent creation of regional service.

Many people in and around Castlegar were hopeful their city/region would be included in the arrangement.

To date there has been no positive announcement concerning the West Kootenay Regional Airport, but, for that matter, neither has there been a definitive denial.

A deal was made with Bombardier for about 40 ultra-modern turboprop aircraft and communities across the country geared up for the possibility of attracting the right kind of attention.

Delegations from many communities, including Castlegar, had made the trip to WestJet’s Calgary headquarters to state their cases in a short presentation. A handful of communities were then named as successful applicants for WestJet service. In BC those communities included Nanaimo and Penticton.

Not a lot has been in the news ever since.

Mayor Lawrence Chernoff has remained aware of the situation all along, and when contacted this week agreed it has been kind of a non-issue (media-wise, at least) for an extended period. He’s as keen on the prospect, however, as he ever was. It had been he, along with former MP Jim Gouk who had made the local pitch in Calgary, a pitch which had included the promise of some $300,000 worth of locally funded airport upgrades to facilitate safe use of the airport in a wider variety of weather conditions. He said he felt good about the presentation, but time has gone on and not much more has been heard.

“I’m expecting an announcement in July, to my understanding,” said the mayor on June 24. “It’s moved pretty slowly – they haven’t done a whole lot.”

His Worship conceded that in some cases no news is good news.

“They haven’t said no, and they haven’t put out to a lot of places. In the original plan they were supposed to have a lot more, but they have very few places out there in reality.

“I don’t know whether they’ve backed off, but we haven’t heard from them at all.”

In the meantime Air Canada Jazz, the only carrier currently serving Castlegar will continue in a locally-valued relationship.

Airport manager Gerry Rempel says the arrangement with Air Canada is a good one, but if WestJet, or any other carrier were to come calling they’d be welcome.

“We’re here to serve the public the best we can,” he said. According to Rempel there is no contractual obligation for Air Canada to continue serving Castlegar for any set period.

“It’s forever, I guess,” said the airport manager, “as long as they choose to fly in. There’s no set agreement that they’ll fly any particular time or length of time. We have lease agreements with them for their office space, etc.”

Multiple attempts to obtain information on this topic from WestJet, ahead of press deadline were unsuccessful. Watch for updates in the coming weeks.

Just Posted

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Andrew Bellerby out as RDCK’s regional fire chief

Bellerby held the job since January 2016

Castlegar already well on path to energy-wise future, says community activist

Eco-Society executive director asks council to take 100-per-cent-renewable-energy pledge

Annual Columbia Basin Culture tour coming up Aug 10 and 11

There are locations across the region participating

Rossland council passes plastic bag ban despite legal questions

Appeal court ruling threw bylaw in limbo, but council voted to move forward

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Highway 1 closed to due fatal accident east of Revelstoke

A dump truck lost control and the driver was ejected

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read