Delta is encouraging industrial development at Boundary Bay Airport after agreeing to extend the lease at the airport to the end of the century.
At a Delta Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday (Sept. 14) Mayor Lois Jackson lauded the airport as a “great place to build and invest.”
This spring, Delta council granted the airport operator, Alpha Aviation, a 49-year extension on its lease of the airport, which is now set to expire Dec. 31, 2099.
“The extension provides businesses with additional security that they will be able to sign long-term leases, which is a vital element to providing a stable foundation for success,” Jackson said.
According to an April 12 council report, Boundary Bay Airport operates at a deficit so long-term subtenants for the industrial lands are needed to generate rent and maintain long-term airport operations. The report said some potential subtenants were “uncomfortable” with the previous lease term.
Jackson cited BC Fresh as an example of a “modern facility” located at the airport which “centralizes the transportation of goods” allowing farmers to easily move produce to and from market.
Further, Jackson said construction of the 80th Street overpass will be a “boon” to the development of the airport’s industrial land. The BC Rail overpass, expected to be complete by June 2012, will provide “safe, efficient and uninterrupted vehicle access to the airport,” she said.
To recognize Alpha’s surrender of 8.5 acres of land for overpass construction, Delta is assuming responsibility for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the road and utility areas. Council has already approved $2.9 million to undertake the first phase of its Master Servicing Plan, which will ensure developable industrial lands at the airport are pre-serviced and ready for businesses to move in. Delta will need to recoup those servicing costs from future tenants.
Alpha Aviation president Lynda Hogarth said there has been more interest in airport land since the lease extension.
“We’ve had a number of people come forward interested in developing out here at the airport,” she said. “We are looking at offers right now.”
Hogarth reviewed the recent improvements to the airport, including a runway extension, new main terminal building, fuel farm and T-hangars. She said Delta benefits from the airport with 500 jobs, $9 million in economic benefit and $1 million in tax revenue, which will increase once new industrial tenants move in.