A dozen Northern Manitoba airports are among 15 in the province that recently got federal government funding for equipment purchases and infrastructure upgrades.
Airports in Flin Flon, Gods Lake Narrows, Norway House, Oxford House, Pukatawagan, Red Sucker Lake, South Indian Lake, St. Theresa Point, Tadoule Lake, The Pas, Thompson and York Landing collectively will receive about $3.7 million from Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program.
The biggest beneficiaries are Tadoule Lake, which is getting over $1 million for wildlife control fencing plus $50,000 for a tow-behind compactor, as well as York Landing, which is getting nearly $927,000 for wildlife fencing.
Thompson’s airport is receiving $358,960 for a snowplow. Several of the airports in fly-in communities are getting compactors, which create stable surface for takeoffs and landings on gravel runways and cost $50,000 apiece.
The money, which is on top of more than $20 million that went to airports in Flin Flon, Gods Lake Narrows, Lac Brochet, Red Sucker Lake, Shamattawa and Thompson in 2021, is intended to help ease supply chain pressures, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told the Thompson Citizen.
“Our government is going to do everything we can to enhance and strengthen the resilience and the fluidity of our supply chain,” he said. “Certainly the the airports that serve remote and northern regions have even an added point of importance to maintain not only the supply chain, but also essential services that the communities depend on, such as medical services. These airports provide essential service that that the community cannot afford to lose or jeopardize and that's why these types of investments will only enhance these airports’ ability to be safer and to be more efficient.”
Safety investments are especially important for communities without road or rail access, the minister said.
“There are certain times of the year that this is the only way to get in and out.”
Alghabra said the latest investments are part of a “comprehensive economic plan” for Northern Manitoba that includes up to about $60 million for the Hudson Bay Railway and other investments such as opening a PrairiesCan service centre in Thompson.
Supply chain issues and resulting effects like high inflation need to be addressed in multiple ways, Alghabra said.
“There have been a lot of pressures on availability of goods, on prices of goods, uncertainty, and we just want to let Canadians know that we are tackling these issues head on, whether by offering direct relief to families who need help, or by investing in some of the bottlenecks that are adding more stress on our supply chains,” the minister said. “We're tackling this issue from two sides, by offering direct relief but also by addressing the root causes.”