Town closing secondary runway

Peggy Revell

The permanent closure of Runway 03/21—commonly known as “Cross Runway”—was approved by town council at Monday evening’s meeting.
The runway will be officially closed as of Sept. 30, following a recommendation and report from the town’s Operations and Facilities executive committee.
“The runway was built and paved in 1985 and is now in disrepair and the surface has reached it’s useful life,” noted Coun. Paul Ryan, who chaired the committee of the whole meeting.
The asphalt of the Cross Runway is “badly cracked” and in some areas “collapsing,” stated Airport and Parks Superintendent Bill Caul, in part of the report that was submitted to council on the closure of the runway.
“This creates a hazardous surface for aircraft to utilize and could become a liability issue if an aircraft was to have an accident during take-off and or landing,” Caul explained.
In 2008, Coun. Ryan noted, 238 out of the 5,982 aircraft used the Cross Runway at the airport, but he explained that as a secondary runway it is not eligible for Transport Canada funding, as it is not used by scheduled passenger flights.
The runway is not being utilized by Bearskin Air, as it is too short.
As the airport owner, the town would have to cover the cost of the resurfacing.
“It is estimated to cost approximately $1 million—and I think it will be over that—to rehabilitate and repave,” Coun. Ryan stated, adding that although the runway will be shut down the town will continue to seek funding for it.
The runway, which is 2,600 feet long by 75 feet wide is mainly utilized by smaller aircraft “traveling in a northerly direction for convenience rather than necessity” noted the section of the submitted report by Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown.
With the closure of the Cross Runway, these aircraft can utilize the main runway, Brown said.
“However, it should be clearly stated that [Cross Runway] is utilized by smaller aircraft when there is a substantial crosswind on the main runway thus adding an additional safety feature to the airport facility,” he wrote.
Closure of the runway will require that all existing line markings be blacked out, explained Caul in the report, as well as four “X” markings painted on the runway so it can be identified as a closed runway.
The runway’s edge lighting will also be shut off, and all fiberoptic identification signs disconnected and/or removed.