Red Deer Regional Airport still looking ahead
The Red Deer Regional Airport Authority is keeping its eye on the horizon in terms of planning.
In keeping with that long-term approach to development, a new Red Deer Regional Airport Area Structure Plan was approved by Red Deer County Council on Tuesday.
The document maps out a 30-year vision for the airport that got a big boost early last month when Air Canada began running 42 scheduled arrivals and departures weekly between Red Deer and Calgary.
That service is already growing week over week.
Northwestern Air, which flies west to Kelowna and Abbotsford, and north to Fort McMurray, is also showing strong numbers, said Airport Authority CEO RJ Steenstra.
The new plan is key to maintaining growth momentum.
“We’re pleased because it gives us the fundamental base from which we can now move forward with land development and planning and execution,” said Steenstra.
“The (area structure plan) needed to be there so that we had some guidance around where development could take place, what kind of development, and how we can move forward.”
The plan plots out a direction for the facility on 900 acres near Springbrook to ensure it reaches its potential as a regional transportation hub over the next decades.
Steenstra said there are companies interested in locating to the airport but serviced land is not yet available.
“This plan gives me the first step in moving forward with that process,” he said.
Now the authority can start development planning, likely beginning with the south field.
The plan includes setbacks and sightline regulations to ensure that development does not hinder future air services or the operations of the navigation tower.
Since future growth will be closely tied to luring new aviation businesses, the plan reserves airfield lands so there is room for future airside amenities. As well, other property is reserved for commercial developments that don’t require access to airport facilities.
Should the control tower need to be moved some day, land has been set aside in the plan at a central runway location.
Land has also been set aside for a future replacement terminal and the necessary parking.