DEASE LAKE, B.C. — Dease Lake Airport will receive $9 million from the province of B.C.’s StrongerBC economic recovery funding for airport upgrades.
“This funding will significantly improve air access to Dease Lake and the surrounding communities,” said Bruce Ralston, minister of energy, mines and low carbon innovation, in a press release. “The upgrades will enhance emergency services for people in this part of our province. The provincial investment will also lead to better access for mineral exploration and the mining sector, creating good-paying, long-term jobs in the region.”
The money will go towards safety upgrades to enable medevac services, runway repaving and lighting improvements. The improvements were identified by the Stikine Airport Society (SAS) which is co-ordinating engagements across government and multiple industry stakeholders.
The upgrades will also allow for growing commercial and mining activity in the northwest by bringing the airport up to Transport Canada Civil Aviation certification.
The region is known as the “Golden Triangle” for its many mineral deposits. More than half of B.C.’s mineral exploration efforts take place in the region, which is home to the Red Chris and Brucejack mines.
“The Dease Lake Airport upgrades fit with our plan to build an inclusive, sustainable economic recovery that works for everyone,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation. “Our goal is to provide communities with the supports needed to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic safer and stronger than before.”
Additional funding for the improvements will come from the regional district of Kitimat-Stikine and several companies operating in Tahltan Territory, including Red Chris joint venture (JV) operator Newcrest Mining Limited, Newmont/Teck Resources, Seabridge, Skeena Resources Limited and Pretivm Resources Inc.
Dease Lake is the biggest city in B.C’s northwest. It is home to approximately 475 people. Another 3,500 to 4,000 people from surrounding communities use it as a central service hub.
“The safety of our members is always our priority and that is why I am grateful for the upgrades at the Dease Lake Airport,” said Chief Carmen McPhee, Tahltan Band Council. “Indeed, improved air access will provide Tahltans with more timely medevac service that will save lives.”