Pilots looking to land in Fraser Lake’s airport may now have more encouragement to do so with its latest security, amenity, and record upgrades.
The Village of Fraser Lake hosted more than twenty people, including pilots and interested residents, at an open house event for its airport to showcase the latest upgrades on Nov. 5 afternoon.
Funded by the Northern Development Initiative Trust, the project included a ditch and six-foot fence around the airport’s perimeter, the resealing of the 4000-foot paved runway, an outhouse, as well as as a secured kiosk for the pilot’s log, said Rod Holland, the village’s chief administrative officer.
The airport, with a runway that was paved in 1996, has existed since the 1980s, and the need for upgrades has emerged over the years as some used the space for activities such as racing and bonfires, Holland said.
“People have been using it for non-airport type of activities and it needed to be secured, so we have fenced and ditched,” he said. “Not only to control water but also to keep the ATVs out of it.”
Used in the past by both private pilots and industries — including five air tankers last summer, the airport was previously little more than a paved runway with a broken gate, Holland added.
“We want to provide a facility that they feel safe to leave their aircraft unattended and also meet some of the basic needs like an outhouse, so they can use [the airport] more,” he said. “We want to increase use.”
Holland said the village office had received some complementary feedback from pilots who had used the upgraded space, including inquiries on the possibility of establishing a hangar.
“But that’s a pretty big step forward for us,” he said. “If private pilots want to establish, we can certainly talk about leasing space.”
At the event, while some residents noted that no aircraft was onsite, others expressed concern of access to the now-locked facility — a pilot had first learned of the new upgrades when he found himself and his plane in a fenced space upon landing.
For Fraser Lake resident Chris Sutherland, the open house event was the first time he had heard of the airport’s existence, though in the past he had passed through the area many times — his brothers had hunted around the property, he said.
“It’s neat,” Sutherland said. “If any of our boys would like to become a pilot and fly, there would be a place for them.”