Campaigns could bring region a lift

Region's residents should get behind effort to land WestJet

Penticton is in the midst of a campaign that could have a lasting impact on the city’s economic fortunes.

The Penticton Economic Development Office has initiated a survey designed to gauge the air transportation demands of the South Okanagan.

The survey is the offshoot of a recent grassroots campaign designed to entice WestJet to operate its service out of the Penticton airport. The Calgary-based airline recently announced plans to establish a fleet of 40 smaller, turbo-prop aircrafts for short-haul flights as part of a regional carrier.

The potential to bring a second airline to Penticton’s airport has been met with a groundswell of support in the city and throughout the South Okanagan, with an online petition campaign surpassing 2,500 names of people supporting a local WestJet route.

While one of the driving factors in the effort to land WestJet service is opening a direct route from Penticton to Calgary, the benefits will go far beyond more convenience for Alberta travellers.

The additional flights would bring a major boost to the South Okanagan tourism industry, making it that much easier for visitors to soak in the fabulous orchards, beaches and wineries that have made the region famous. The service would also improve access to the real estate sector, serving to strengthen the local housing market.

In fact, there are few who wouldn’t see some benefit from the addition of a second carrier — from increased economic opportunities to more options for visiting friends and relatives.

 

For these reasons, we would encourage any South Okanagan residents who haven’t yet had the opportunity to take part in the petition and survey to do so. The link to the economic development online survey is at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9LBRMNZ. The petition can be found at www.change.org/petitions/bring-westjet-to-penticton.