Talk of the Penticton Airport possibly moved closer to the channel are just concepts, according to Chief Jonathon Kruger, and longterm ones at that.
“They are just ideas that are shooting around right now,” said Kruger.
When the federal government said last year that it was interested in divesting itself of the 18 airports remaining under federal control, Kruger said the band responded by saying they had to talk to the Penticton Indian Band first.
“They can’t drop the airport without having conflicts with us because we have interests in the airport lands. They were expropriated from us for the Second World War and they said they would give them back after the war was over,” said Kruger. Transport Canada agreed, and Kruger said the band suggested doing a feasibility study on the airport and possible changes.
That’s where the idea of moving or reconfiguring the airport came in, according to Kruger.
“Not committing to anything, but doing a financial study of the airport and seeing what it would look like if it was run as a business and the band was involved in that, whether that be on the existing lands, or even working with the locatees on what it would look like with different kinds of plans,” said Kruger, who said the federal government didn’t respond to the suggestion of a study.
“I am willing to look into that if we can get the government to pay for a study and get all the parties involved, which is the city, the band and Transport Canada, and see if there are any successful (airport) models out there,” said Kruger.
“That is what we proposed, but we haven’t had any response. I think they went into election mode and that is why everything went pretty quiet. We may put that offer back out there to see if they will pay for some sort of feasibility study.”