Former Whistler mayor supports Intrawest’s airport plan 

Nebbeling believes Pemberton can have a world class air service

In what could be a major blow to Prime Air’s efforts to start an air service in Pemberton, former Whistler mayor and current MLA Ted Nebbeling has come out in firm support of Intrawest’s airport proposal.

Nebbeling, who is set to retire from provincial politics at the next election, indicated that after years of deliberating Pemberton council would be making a mistake if they continued to endorse Prime Air’s airport proposal.

"To try what Prime Air has tried in the past and has never got off the ground would be the best example of what happens if you try to go with a sub-standard system," said Nebbeling.

"To make Whistler the catalyst (for an airport) you have to think much bigger.

"Quite frankly what they (Pemberton council) have in mind is, in my opinion, not what we’re looking for.

"If they have an airport they should have a quality airport with quality linkages with other airports and people should be able to come in from wherever they live.

"That’s what’s going to make the difference and a success.

"It will certainly create a lot of justification when it comes to job opportunities, not just for the workforce that is there today but for the kids who are growing up there.

"If they make the right decision then I think it will benefit not only Pemberton but the corridor as a whole."

Intrawest and Prime Air are the two companies that have presented airport proposals to Pemberton council.

Prime Air wants to start chartered air services now and build their operation as more capital is generated and work is completed around the airport.

Prime Air has also advocated for Pemberton council to retain control over the airport, rather than establishing an airport authority.

The problem Prime Air has is that it’s been trying to start an air service in Pemberton for more than 10 years.

Intrawest has proposed revamping the entire area over a number of years, installing all the necessary weather equipment and getting the airport classified to accept regularly scheduled passenger aircraft.

It also wants to extend the runway by two kilometres so it can take larger passenger aircraft and elect an airport authority.

Intrawest’s problem is the idea of an airport authority, because the Pemberton council wants to retain control over the airport.

But Nebbeling said the Pemberton council had to engage the private sector if it wants the airport to be developed and contribute to the creation of an airport authority.

"At this stage there is nothing that has been done over the last 10 years," he said.

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