Planes landing at the Brantford Municipal Airport can now taxi on a smooth surface after repairs to replace the crumbling tarmac apron finished ahead of schedule and under budget.
“We’re quite pleased that the repairs are finished,” said airport manager Mark Culshaw. “The repairs (addressed) one of the major areas of the tarmac we had issues with.”
The repairs, which involved completely replacing asphalt on top of part of the tarmac and replacing the sewer system underneath, cost taxpayers just over $360,000 and took one month to complete, said Jim Quin, Brantford’s manager of corporate properties. The original cost estimate was $450,000.
The repairs reduce the risk of damage to planes from broken pavement and “foreign objects,” Culshaw said.
“Planes are using it and we’ve had good feedback” from pilots and other users, he said.
The damaged tarmac grounded the Brantford Rotary Charity Air Show for the past two years while city council deferred funding for the repairs. The high-profile event, which raises about $50,000 for Rotary and affiliated charities, could now return in 2013, said Sherry Kerr, who chairs Rotary’s air show committee.
“The air show committee…will start to plan for a 2013 show with the assumption that the repairs meet the Canadian Air Force requirements,” Kerr said.
The federal Department of National Defence must sign off on the improved tarmac before military jets such as the Snowbirds – who will appear in Tillsonburg this year following the cancellation of the Brantford air show – can return to Brantford.
As well as offering improved safety for airport users, the repaired tarmac will help the city put its best face forward to visitors, Culshaw said.
“The airport is the gateway to our community for a business that wants to set up shop in Brantford or the County of Brant,” he said. “What they see here at the airport sets the tone.”
More tarmac repairs are needed. Culshaw said the airport will be seeking additional capital funding from the city to complete a second phase of work.