The Town of Vermilion’s Airport Master Plan was recently released and recommended resurfacing the taxiway and apron within the next five years for an estimated $2,161,800.
The plan completed by Tetra Tech noted that Vermilion has strong transportation connectivity.
“It is located at the junction of Highways 16 (Yellowhead) and Highway 41, a north-south highway linking Cold Lake to Medicine Hat. The Yellowhead Highway is twinned from Lloydminster to Jasper. In addition, the CN Rail mainline passes through Vermilion. Both the CN Rail mainline and the Yellowhead Highway pass within 1 km of YVG. Vermilion Airport has committed land for agricultural operations as well as undertaken two subdivisions of the airport property for light industrial development. The relative proximity of both the CN Rail mainline and the Yellowhead Highway do provide the opportunity for the airport to develop as a logistics centre as well as an industrial area with broad continental and/or global connectivity. As a reminder, the closest scheduled passenger service is available at the Lloydminster or Edmonton airports,” read the plan.
As the new Chair of the Airport Advisory Committee, Shawn Jacula said, “The town approving the Airport Master Plan is an important step in retaining our facility for future aviation activity; namely the important use of fixed wing air ambulance services. Furthermore, with the airport being that of the only in the county, having the surface for aerial applicators to fight insects for our agricultural community is truly invaluable when our crops are under attack. It is our hope that the town makes efforts to promote the land and buildings at the airport to attract businesses looking for opportunities that Vermilion has to offer.”
As mentioned, the Airport Master Plan also detailed what upgrades would be required to support fixed wing MedEvac services. Tetra Tech suggested runway lengthening to 4000’ including property acquisition (if possible) as well as possible runway widening.
“Council and Administration are making an effort to increase activity at the airport which includes securing a fuel supply. Having a fuel supply at the Airport will not only increase activity it will also help with business attraction,” said Airport Committee member, Derek Young.
Committee member Greg Barr said, “The assessment identifies what we need to do maintenance wise with the state of the runway and what we can expect. For the past few years, I have enjoyed talking with local pilots, three of whom are on the committee, and we identified a few things that the Town of Vermilion can continue to work towards. Priorities we have identified include perusing fuel, attracting aircraft maintenance technicians or any air related enterprises, as well as making more use of and getting more available hangers. At the end of the day we can’t have a whole lot of economic growth without having a lot more aircraft traffic.
Some hurdles have to be achieved before looking too hard at other long term goals for our airport, such as the proposed condos, etc. For current or long term projects, acquiring grants and other funding is essential for maintenance and advancement. I hope by the end of my term that some of these things identified will come to fruition. As a council we identify what our strategy will be going forward in order to achieve them and will engage economic development as things go forward.
It’s great having the Vermilion River Flying Club. That is one thing we haven’t had for years and they are an essential voice in helping us steer airport advancement to being more viable.
There are very few municipalities in Alberta that have an airport within their boundaries, and so we have a golden opportunity here! We can use the Vermilion Airport as a tool to attract other businesses here; it’s a win-win.”
To view the Airport Master Plan, you can visit vermilion.ca.