A major expansion is planned for the Sault Ste. Marie Airport by the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation. Before construction can begin, upgrades will be needed to its water and sewer infrastructure. The expansion will be a $5 million, multi-stage upgrade according to Northern Ontario Business.
The project will include the following:
- Upgrade of airport amenities
- Redesign of the parking lot
- Construction of a new hotel
- New flight training business at the airport
FedNor has already committed $1.8 million from its Northern Ontario Development Program last August. FedNor is the Government of Canada's economic development organization for Northern Ontario.
Two new lease agreements and a business expansion project are contingent on the upgraded site services according to the government.
One hundred full time jobs could be created over the short to medium term due to this expansion. This would be a great benefit to Sault Ste. Marie and to Ontario.
"The project is going to involve a major expansion to our water and sewage. We are currently at capacity and we're looking to expand. The city has additionally agreed to provide support through its economic development fund, and the corporation is awaiting word from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. for the provincial funding portion of the project. If all funding is approved, the parking lot and the access road into the terminal would be redesigned as part of the initiative."
Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corp. president & CEO | Terry Bos
Details on the new hotel have not yet been revealed but it is planned to be located right in front of the terminal so that people who stay at the hotel will be able to walk right over to the terminal to catch their flight.
They hope that the airport will be able to attract a new flight-training operation. The strategy is to help prepare more commercial airline pilots for the industry due to the ongoing shortage of pilots across the country which has become a real problem.
Industry estimates that Canada will need more than 7,000 pilots by 2025 and that demand would only grow larger.
Currently, engineers are starting the ground work for the water and sewer expansion, and negotiations are ongoing for a lease agreement on the hotel.
Terry Bos stated that he plans to have the water and sewage expansion and possibly even the parking lot relocation completed prior to March 30, 2021.
The Canadian government opened the Sault Ste. Marie airport in 1961 and operated it until 1998, when it handed control over to the newly formed Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation. Of the 23 Ontario regional, local, or small airports handed over under the policy, the Sault Ste. Marie airport is the only one not affiliated with a municipality, since the city of Sault Ste. Marie declined to assume control. In 2002, the SSMADC opened Runway Park, an entertainment and recreation area, on unused airport property to help generate revenue to support the airport's operation.
Posted by Judy Lamelza