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B.C. government offers funding ‘lifeline’ to Okanagan airports, inter-city bus lines

Inside Kelowna International Airport on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Global News

The manager of Kelowna International Airport is calling an investment from the B.C. provincial government a “lifeline.”

The province has announced $16.5 million for B.C. airports, and YLW is receiving $720,000 — the highest-operating grant, which will also be given to 12 other airports.

“We want to congratulate the province for showing national leadership in supporting and recognizing the importance of B.C. airports to the global economy,” said YLW airport director Sam Samaddar.

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The money will support cargo operations, medevac services, air terminals and runways, as well as assisting with payroll, rent and other overhead costs to keep these services operating until March 31, 2022, according to the B.C. government.

YLW is one of 55 regional airports in B.C. that will receive financial support to help maintain critical services.

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The Village of Nakusp, which operates a 914-metre airstrip, received the smallest grant of $13,000.

“Our government is working to keep vital services operating during this unprecedented time, and this funding will help British Columbians — especially those in rural areas of the province — have a safe and reliable way to travel to essential appointments,” said Rob Fleming, British Columbia’s minister of transportation and infrastructure.

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Inter-city bus lines like Mountain Man Mike’s, which provides transportation along Highway 3 between Kaslo and Vancouver, will receive $136,800 out of the $6.2 million that will be granted to 20 B.C. companies.

“We know inter-city bus companies and regional airports were in critical need of funding to keep their operations going during COVID-19. With this investment, inter-city buses and regional airports will now have the funding they need to continue operating and serving people,” Fleming said.

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The Big White bus service will receive $20,970 in an operational grant.

To view the full list of operational grants, check out the B.C. government release linked here.

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