Editorial: Airport for Cowichan an idea whose time is not now

Editorial: Airport for Cowichan an idea whose time is not now

We definitely don’t think there’s a public appetite to spend $20 million on such a project.

It doesn’t seem as if the Cowichan Valley Regional District is in much of a hurry to do anything with their report that says a new airport for the area would be feasible. And well they might not be.

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Given the difficulty local governments have faced when locating various facilities we can only imagine how problematic it would be to try to find a place for an airport. While there may be a very few people who would not be bothered by the noise of planes taking off and landing, that number is vanishingly small, and we doubt they are living anywhere near where any proposed airport would go in Cowichan.

The report states further that it would need to be close to a major road and to the new hospital, meaning it wouldn’t be going in the middle of nowhere, where there wouldn’t be any neighbours to be affected.

It seems as if there is a real need, though not urgent, for a new spot for a landing strip in Cowichan for small private aircraft, as the one that’s in use right now has a limited lifespan, but the new airport the report talks about would be a significantly bigger facility than that.

It’s envisioned as also supplying space for air ambulance, search and rescue, emergency evacuation and forest fire response. These are vital services that we hope the regional district is not waiting on an airport to house.

We definitely don’t think there’s a public appetite to spend $20 million on such a project. Comments about the story we ran on the subject last week in the Citizen, mostly have people saying they are fine with driving to Victoria or Nanaimo to catch flights, or to hop on the sea plane at Maple Bay. The public does not seem to be clamoring for this.

In terms of economic development, we don’t think Cowichan’s lack of an airport, which would only be suitable for small planes anyway, is holding the region back. We have easy access to and a relatively short driving distance from already existing airport facilities. This is one report we would not be unhappy to simply see shelved by the CVRD at this time.