Delta council has given the go-ahead for another big expenditure to upgrade services at Boundary Bay Airport.
Civic politicians approved a $771,000 sanitary pump station contract, part of a $4 million plan over several phases to improve the infrastructure at the municipally-owned site.
The infrastructure project involves designing and upgrading roads as well as water, sanitary and drainage services to encourage industrial growth in the area. The goal is to improve the services for the western portion of the airport lands, which have been redesignat-ed as light industrial. Some of the sanitary and water-main installations have already been completed by the municipality.
Engineering director Steven Lan told council the airport lands have a plethora of issues when it comes to infrastructure, including pipes that are aging and not installed in the right locations. He also noted a septic field in the area is failing.
Coun. Scott Hamilton told the Optimist that taxes the municipality received from the airport have gone up "dramatically" in the last few years, totaling over $2 million last year alone. He said an additional $1 million in taxes is to come Delta's way thanks to the arrival of Dayhu Group, a warehouse logistics company that is planning to locate in the industrially-zoned section.
The Corporation of Delta and Dayhu last year signed a memorandum of agreement to move forward with the development of a 900,000-square-foot commercial distribution centre.
"The Dayhu development is expected to create approximately 1,000 ongoing jobs in Delta," said Mayor Lois Jackson when the deal was signed.
Civic finance director Karl Preuss told the Optimist the municipality plans to recoup some of the infrastructure upgrade costs by applying "latecomer charges" to future businesses that will locate on Churchill Street.
Alpha Aviation, which has a lease until 2099 to operate airport, has been trying to attract new tenants.
In 2011, council agreed to a request by the company to lease lands, which don't have direct access to the airport apron or runways, to a wider range of industrial users, including warehousing, wholesaling and distribution, as well as business park office uses.
At the time, Coun. Robert Campbell, who chairs the Boundary Bay Airport Advisory Committee, told the Optimist that Alpha Aviation was "bleeding money" despite making a considerable investment to upgrade the airport.
A major stumbling block has been the aging infrastructure. Delta has already spent over $250,000 for an engineering consultant to look at what's in place and to design services in the hopes of encouraging industrial growth for the area.