Ontario Construction News staff writer
Construction will begin later this year at the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport (LSRA), after the county of Simcoe secured a provincial grant to help with a runway expansion. Also, the County is seeking investment from aerospace companies.
The first phase, which would see the runway widened to address operational constraints and allow for larger and heavier aircrafts to access the airport, has an estimated cost of more than $6.5 million, to be shared by local municipalities.
The county has secured a $1.5 million through the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund.
“The plan is demand based, where expenditures will only be initiated when there is a reasonable expectation that business will be forthcoming,” Mike Drumm, manager of the airport, wrote in a report to county council.
The airport is a member of the Southern Ontario Airport Network (SOAN) which was established to grow the aerospace industry in Ontario as Toronto Pearson International Airport approaches its flight and land capacities.
“Through SOAN, the LSRA has received investment inquiries from different aerospace companies.”
Phase 1 will also include earthworks/pavement, stormwater works, restoration work, and electrical works/upgrades.
Phases 2 and 3 are “demand-based” and will include commercial travel. The preliminary budget summary associated with all three phases is over $65 million.
In August of 2019, the County of Simcoe secured a deal to become the majority owner of the airport, with the County of Simcoe owning 90 per cent, and the City of Barrie retaining 10 per cent. As of January 1, 2020, the deal was officially in place.
According to the staff report, the runway widening project is shovel-ready and can be implemented immediately. Construction will begin by the end of 2020 and is expected to be completed by summer 2021.