June 25, 2020

BC Airport May Consider Alternative Land Use


The Town of Golden has hired Ottawa-based HM Aero Aviation Consulting to advise the Town’s council on the best use of its airport lands by making the airport more financially viable, or whether it should be shut down and the prime riverfront land it occupies adjacent to the town’s core put to better use.

Golden, located in the Columbia region of British Columbia, owns and operates the registered aerodrome (CYGE), which has a single 75-foot-wide asphalt runway 4,528 feet in length. Located at the facility are a Nav Canada weather station, a B.C. Wildfire Suppression Base, Golden and District Search and Rescue, two helicopter operators active year-round, a skydiving operator and a supplier of both Jet-A and 100LL fuels. There are also numerous privately-owned hangars. The airport saw 1,715 movements in 2019, an increase of 34 over the previous year. Some of those were medevac flights.

There is no scheduled air service to the town of 3,700, which is located on the Trans-Canada Highway between Kicking Horse Pass and Rogers Pass in the Columbia River Valley.

From a general aviation pilot’s perspective, the Golden airport is strategically located along the designated east-west VFR route between Calgary and B.C.’s Interior, especially given that the Parks Canada-operated 3,000-foot grass strip in the Banff National Park is designated for emergency use only. The airport also lies on the north-south designated VFR route, making Golden airport a potential haven for pilots encountering deteriorating weather condition along both these routes.

The Rocky Mountain Trench, as the north-south valley is known to pilots, sees significant VFR traffic as it is considered one of the safest routes through British Columbia for pilots travelling between Alaska and the Lower 48 states.

According to a statement from the Town of Golden, “the study will involve the evaluation of airport infrastructure, operations, financial standing and the identification of potential aeronautical and non-aeronautical business opportunities. A fundamental component of the study is engaging with local, regional and national stakeholders to obtain perspectives on future opportunities that could enhance the economic and social benefit of the Airport.”

COPA, together with the BC Aviation Council and the BC General Aviation Association, have made submissions in support of the airport and are closely following developments.