Ottawa spending $12 million to upgrade remote airport near site of 2017 crash

Ottawa spending $12 million to upgrade remote airport near site of 2017 crash

FOND DU LAC, Sask. — The federal government says it will spend $12 million to improve safety at a remote northern Saskatchewan airport near where a plane crashed in December 2017 shortly after takeoff.

All 25 people on the West Wind Aviation plane were injured — nine seriously — and 19-year-old Arson Fern Jr. later died in hospital.

Some of the upgrades to Fond du Lac’s airport are to include runway rehabilitation, replacing airfield lighting and installing a visual aid system that helps pilots make their approach when landing.

Last December, the Transportation Safety Board said people who use remote, northern airports are at substantial and unnecessary risk because of a lack of proper equipment for de-icing planes.

The board reached that conclusion during its investigation that found that the pilot took off despite noticing ice on the plane during a pre-flight inspection.

Last fall, West Wind said all of the airline’s northern destinations now have better de-icing equipment.

Speaking in Saskatoon, Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan said airports such as Fond Du Lac provide essential air services including community resupply, air ambulance, search and rescue and forest fire response.

“The community of Fond du Lac was profoundly touched by tragic events in 2017,” O’Regan said Thursday in a release.

“Today, our government is announcing new funding which will help ensure the continued safety and reliability of operations at the Fond du Lac Airport.”

A group that represents 74 First Nations in the province said it welcomes the federal announcement.

Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations said the upgrade is badly needed.

“We send congratulations to Fond Du Lac Chief Louis Mercredi and his council and community today as the fight to upgrade this airport has been a long time coming,” Cameron said.

“The community has overcome great tragedy and this funding today will go a long way in ensuring the safety of everyone who utilizes this airport.”

Transport Canada suspended West Wind’s ability to operate after the crash but restored it last May.

Fond Du Lac is about 800 kilometres north of Saskatoon. (The Canadian Press, CJWW)

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Rachel Notley is coming to Red Deer

Speaking at campaign office

UPDATED: Economy and health care expected to be hot election topics

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death seeking full parole

CALGARY — A woman convicted in her son’s death after she failed… Continue reading

Canadian women earn significantly less in pay, bonuses and profit sharing: study

TORONTO — Canadian women are paid 25 per cent less than men… Continue reading

UK’s May asks EU to delay Brexit until June 30

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May formally asked the European Union on… Continue reading

Canadian pair fifth after short program at figure skating worlds

SAITAMA, Japan — Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are fifth after… Continue reading

Director Kim Nguyen tackles financial ‘madness’ in ‘The Hummingbird Project’

TORONTO — As Quebec filmmaker Kim Nguyen tells it, “The Hummingbird Project”… Continue reading

What Disney gets as its $71.3B buy of Fox assets closes

It’s finally complete. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment… Continue reading

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Most Read