The City of Vernon is proceeding with a long-term plan for the airport on Tronson Road.

The City of Vernon is proceeding with a long-term plan for the airport on Tronson Road.

Vernon airport plan soars ahead

Coun. Catherine Lord was the only opponent to the Vernon Regional Airport master plan Monday.

A long-term vision for Vernon’s airport is still generating turbulence.

Coun. Catherine Lord was the only opponent to the Vernon Regional Airport master plan Monday.

Lord says the document is insufficient because it doesn’t include a runway extension.

“With the expansion of the runway, we’d have a significant economic driver,” she said.

Earlier this year, council decided not to extend the runway from 3,500 to 4,000 feet.

Mayor Akbal Mund continues to insist spending $7.2 million on a longer runway is a poor investment.

“We don’t need it. We’re 20 minutes from Kelowna (international airport),” he said.

The master plan calls for new facilities and upgrades to the Tronson Road airport over 20 years, including  more hangar and tie-down areas, rehabilitating the runway, constructing a paved helipad, constructing a new airport operations shop, implementing an aircraft movement monitoring system and establishing a new parking area for aviation users.

The estimated cost of the plan is $2.49 million and a funding formula will be presented to council in February.

Coun. Scott Anderson supports the master plan, saying upgrades can bolster the local economy.

“We’re a growing city and it would be nice to attract charter flights,” he said.

“We talk about attracting high-tech industry and we need to put the infrastructure in place for them.”

Coun. Dalvir Nahal was absent Monday.