Lighting upgrades have landed the Long Beach Airport an Aviation Council’s William Templeton Trophy.

Lighting upgrades have landed the Long Beach Airport an Aviation Council’s William Templeton Trophy.

Vancouver Island’s Long Beach Airport lands award

“It’s through advancements like this that our smaller communities can continue to grow.”

A lighting upgrade that brought enhanced safety and increased traffic to the West Coast’s airport has now brought accolades as well.

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District’s Airport Superintendent Mark Fortune travelled to Vancouver last month to attend a ceremony where he received the B.C. Aviation Council’s William Templeton Trophy.

Fortune accepted the award on behalf of the ACRD, in recognition for improvements made to both the West Coast’s Long Beach Airport and the Alberni Valley Airport.

The William Templeton Trophy has been awarded annually since 1971 and recognizes “outstanding initiative and achievement in the successful development of a community airport, regional airport, heliport or floatplane landing facility by an individual, association, municipal government or company,” according to BC Aviation Council Executive Director Candace McKibbon.

McKibbon told the Westerly News that the ACRD was recognized for the installation of new runway lighting at Long Beach Airport that was installed thanks to a $1.27 million grant from the B.C. Air Access Program.

“The airport was lit in WWII and that lighting fell in the 50’s. Since then, the airport has had no lighting,” McKibbon said adding the key purpose of the new lighting was to allow emergency response aircraft to come and go safely.

“While BC Medevac was the primary cause for putting this lighting in place, this now allows for more flights to operate during nights and low visibility into one of the most beautiful places in the country.”

She added the Alberni Valley Airport extended their runway in 2015 and is also working on an airfield lighting project.

“It’s through advancements like this that our smaller communities can continue to grow and be properly serviced,” McKibbon said.

Local leaders planned to rename the airport last year over confusion with an airport of the same name in California, but that plan was scrapped in the spring.