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Atmosphere was electric at Campbell River workshop

More than 100 delegates attended the Canadian Airports National Electrical Workshop

Airport electricians from around the country charged into Campbell River recently.

More than 100 delegates attended the Canadian Airports National Electrical Workshop at Painter’s Lodge and the Campbell River Airport.

Murray Ames, a Campbell River Airport technician and director/treasurer of the Canadian Airports Electrical Association, said Campbell River, which was the smallest airport to ever host the annual workshop, put on a great show.

“It turned out fantastic,” Ames said. “We ended up with the largest turnout in our 18-year history; we broke a lot of records.”

In fact, the workshop broke previous attendance records in all areas. The 103 registered delegates surpassed the previous high of 98 while the trade show, which took place at the Community Centre, had 33 booths, up from the previous record of 29 displays.

A program for spouses of the delegates also broke an attendance record with 27 spouses making the trip to Campbell River, compared with the previous high of 22.

While the delegates were treated to two hands-on training sessions at the Campbell River Airport, workshop attendees were also given a guided tour along the new John Hart Generating Station project, as well as a trip through the Quinsam Fish Hatchery.

The spousal program included visits to Cathedral Grove near Port Alberni as well as a trip to the Quinsam Hatchery, a carving tour by carver Bill Henderson and a visit to the Mussels and More pottery studio in Campbellton. The program wrapped up with guided visits to the museum and Maritime Heritage Centre.

The workshop wound up with a dinner at Painter’s Lodge followed by a casino night hosted by the Campbell River Kinsmen.

The lucky winners were then able to bid on items at a silent auction, many of which were donated by local businesses. Ames said the workshop, which took place Sept. 22-27, was so successful that he’s confident it will be back.

“It’s pretty well guaranteed they’ll be back,” Ames said. “They all want to come back to Campbell River.

“They actually wanted to come back next year. The response was absolutely amazing – they loved Campbell River.”

The workshop was jointly hosted by the Canadian Airports Electrical Association, the Campbell River Airport, the Campbell River Airport Authority and the city which donated $5,000 towards hosting the event.

Ames also acknowledged Painter’s Lodge for putting up the delegates as well as the Coast Discovery Inn which took in overflow guests, and all the local businesses that provided sponsorship, donations and assistance in putting the workshop on.

The workshop exists to keep airport electricians up-to-date with specialized training; help airport electricians establish contacts to assist with issues and emergency repairs; and connect staff with manufacturers to cut down on the costs of ordering parts from suppliers.

The Canadian Airports Electrical Association was formed as a non-profit by airport electrical staff across the country 18 years ago to fill the void left when Transport Canada, which used to run the workshops, sold off its airports.