No free parking in Campbell River’s airport-opoly

Daily parking is expected to cost $5 while overnight parking will cost $8

The era of free parking at the Campbell River Airport is coming to an end as fees across the board are on the rise.

City council gave three readings last week to a bylaw amendment that will make way for pay parking as well as increased landing fees for aircraft using the airport.

The change was expected to be adopted by council Tuesday afternoon after the Mirror went to press.

Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager, said the prices will be competitive with other airports.

“The changes reflect discussions of the Airport Authority (which manages the airport) to promote the use of the facility, provide competitive rates with other airports within the region and ultimately generate additional revenue for the facility,” Hadfield said.

Currently, the airport offers free daily and overnight parking but that will change.

Daily parking (up to 12 hours) is expected to cost $5 while overnight parking (up to 24 hours) will cost $8. To park your vehicle at the airport for a week will cost $40 while monthly parking will increase to $100 from $60 and annual parking will rise from $480 to $600. A request for proposals has been issued to find a vendor to install the parking meters which could be operational within the next few months. Coun. Larry Samson said he is concerned the changes will draw people away from the airport.

“Comox Valley charges a 24-hour rate for parking. We’re getting business from the Comox Valley because of our free parking,” Samson said at last week’s council meeting.

Ron Neufeld, the city’s general manager of operations, said the pros and cons of pay parking were weighed and in the end it was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up.

“Certainly the issue of paying for parking was discussed at length by the Airport Authority and they realized at the end of the day it was something that was required to generate revenue,” he said.

To further increase the bottom line, fees charged to passengers flying in and out of the airport are also going up, from $6 to $7.50.

Landing fees for both domestic and international flights will also see a slight increase. Rates are based on a per 1,000 kilograms of the aircraft’s maximum take off rate.

Landing fees for domestic flights with aircraft of up to 21,000 kilograms in weight are expected to increase to $4 from $3.85, meaning an aircraft weighing 21,000 kilograms would pay $84 to land.

Aircraft of more than 45,000 kilograms will face a $6 fee, up from $5.70.

For international flights, aircraft weighing up to 31,000 kilograms will pay a landing fee of $5, an increase from the current $4.82 while aircraft up to 70,000 kilograms will see costs rise to $8.50 from $8.17.

Hadfield said the changes in prices are still below the average of other facilities in B.C. in spite of the increase and are considered a good value in terms of price for the customers. But not all users will have to fork over extra change.

Fees for military aircraft are going down.

“My understanding is the military can frequent the airport on training exercises and because of the fee structure in place they have been avoiding the Campbell River Airport,” Neufeld said. “So this is a move to try and attract military aircraft.”

Military aircraft will only have to bear 75 per cent of the landing rate if they arrive between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. From 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., just 50 per cent of the landing fee will be applied.

Hadfield said the previous landing fee for the Aurora aircraft would be around $370, so the city would still see around $277 for that aircraft landing at the Campbell River Airport.