Letter: YLW needs entirely new terminal building

Piecemeal renovations for Kelowna International Airport just don't cut it.

To the editor:

What happened to the Kelowna airport expansion plans as presented in the video that has been playing in the terminal building for months for all to see?

As presented now (Airport Eyes $55.6-million Renovation and Expansion, April 1 Capital News) I see the typical piecemeal renovations, not a significant forward-thinking expansion.

The airport administration likes to boast we are a world class tourist destination and the airport is the 11th busiest in Canada, but the terminal building is not on par with even less busy Canadian airports like St. John’s, Fort McMurray or Thunder Bay.

The form and functionality of the building has not changed in decades and here is one example. The departure lounge podiums are bunched together and there is a confusing hallway to all gates with passengers coming and going. This perplexes many a traveller who is used to an open departures hall with podiums at each gate and nearby seating. What we have is a design that is scaled up piece by piece and often in a reactive fashion so it is nearly outdated upon completion.

It is time to be proactive and stop spending on the Band Aid approach and build a proper terminal that can efficiently handle increasing traffic that is now topping 1.6 million passengers per year.

Of course, the up-front financial costs would be huge and this is primarily why we are at a juncture as I see it. In the long term the numbers are projected to continue upward and we all know tourism is a major driver for the valley, so can we afford not to make bolder changes now?

People of the world will get an impression because the terminal building is commonly the first and last place they will spend some time in the Okanagan.

Unfortunately, as it now stands, it is a near perfect reflection of the short-sighted, small town thinking that tenaciously holds this city.

Is this the image we want to maintain for Kelowna in the future?

Rodney Kozar, Kelowna

 

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