Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nav Canada plans for Northwest airports come up for public debate... in Smithers

The evolving plans from the Ottawa high rise office tower of Nav Canada (see photo left) to eliminate Flight Service operations in Prince Rupert, Smithers and Williams Lake apparently continue on.
It's an issue we first alerted our readers to back in March of this year, and while our elected officials in Prince Rupert appear to have been rather quiet on the issue of late, that's not the case in Smithers where the Mayor of that community, Cress Farrow is leading the charge to reverse the plan.

Besides the removal of high profile and well paying Federal Government jobs in the region and continual erosion of services, Mayor Farrow is concerned about the safety issues involving having the tasks performed from a remote central office, most likely to be located in Terrace. Part of what seems to be a growing trend of making that airport a regional hub for the Northwest.

CBC Radio in Northern British Columbia outlined how he's taking the battle to Nav Canada with a radio report on the public session that was to take place Thursday evening in Smithers, allowing those living in the region to have their say. (listen to the interview here)

It will interesting to see if Prince Rupert picks up that torch and begins the battle to retain the service in our community, as once it's gone, it's most likely gone forever. If the city wishes to keep the Prince Rupert airport relevant in the transportation world, keeping the basic services one would think would make for a pretty important step.
It might be reassuring for the locals to see our council taking the same interest as that of Smithers and beginning the fight to retain these kinds of services in this community, if nothing else at least like Smithers we should have a public forum to outline our concerns and try to impress upon Nav Canada of the importance of such a station to this airport.

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