OKOTOKS, Alta – A small airstrip in southern Alberta has been given the go-ahead to reopen more than a year after it was voluntarily shut down to address some safety deficiencies.
A number of issues were identified by Transport Canada last April and officials temporarily surrendered the Okotoks Air Ranch Airport’s operator’s licence.
The area around the airport has been built up over the years and management determined that the safety risks were excessive due to unauthorized breaches to the landing area, increased regulatory compliance and an increase in wildlife activities.
An inspection was conducted on March 1 and Transport Canada says the facility is now safe to reopen.
Those who use the airfield say they are optimistic about the future of the facility.
The airport has six employees and does about $2 million in business annually.
“Right now it’s private but it’s going to turn into a not-for-profit and that’s where we hope to get funding from the federal government, the municipalities and the province,” local resident Wes Metz tells CTV Calgary.
“We should be able to get some sort of grant money to help operate. Hopefully the community will get behind the airport and support it.”