BONNYVILLE - Work is still ongoing at the Bonnyville Regional Airport, but the costs are expected to come in at less than half what the MD of Bonnyville had budgeted for.
On Aug. 25, MD councillors heard most of the airport upgrades are finished. Since mid-June, MD staff have regraded the taxiway and topped it with a cold mix; connected the taxiway to the runway; improved drainage; and repaired and resurfaced the parking lot area.
Staff still have to replace lighting, do seeding and make improvements to access. When that work is done, the aircraft parking area will be illuminated and so will the entire runway. Staff won’t be lighting the taxiway, but will be installing high-intensity reflectors along it.
Bryan Bespalko, the interim general manager for infrastructure services, said the total expected expenses for the project are estimated at just over $1 million. The approved budget for the project was $2.2 million.
“All services were performed in-house. The staff did a great job on it – they took it and ran with it, and it turned out really nice,” said Bespalko.
There are plans to eventually light the taxiway as well, but Chief Administrative Officer Al Hoggan said that would likely be a 2022 project.
He said supply chain issues that arose due to COVID-19 meant the MD could not find suitable suppliers – the work had to be done in-house, but suppliers wanted to do the install work as well.
“We dearly wanted to do the taxiway lights, just with the supply chain issues it wasn’t going to happen this year,” Hoggan said.
“We will be sourcing stuff for next year and putting in a budget for council deliberation this year for a 2022 project.”
Hoggan said the airport would operate fine using reflectors along the taxiway for the time being. Staff looked at what other airports that lacked taxiway lighting had done, and found they are using high-intensity blue reflectors to delineate the taxiway.
Councillors heard they’ll need to make a decision in the future on whether to carry the extra budgeted money over to next year and what the next priority for the airport is, as there are other possible improvements that could be made as well.
Reeve Greg Sawchuk said he has heard good feedback on the work so far.
“(We’re getting) lots of comments from the users coming in out there, very impressed with the work that was done, and they’re looking forward to the lighting,” he said.