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Qualicum Beach Airport to replace aging fuelling system

Additional funds needed to cover cost of the project
The Qualicum Beach Airport will have a new fuelling system build next year. (PQB News file photo)

The installation of a new above-ground aviation gasoline system at the Qualicum Beach Airport will cost more than the budget town council originally endorsed for the project.

Council approved the sole tender from Western Oil Services, who presented a bid of $425,000, more than the $340,000 budget endorsed by council in 2023. The project involves the removal of the existing 20,000-litre underground Avgas tank and fuelling system and replacement with an above-ground, 30,000-litre system complete with a cardlock payment machine.

Council approved an additional $65,000 to help cover the cost of the project, to be drawn from the asset replacement reserve fund.

Qualicum Beach Airport sells Avgas to private and commercial airplane users but the system it currently uses is believed to be approximately 30 years old.

Capital projects manager Oliver Watson informed council the current self-serving fueling system, QTpod, is now obsolete with parts and technical service no longer available. In the event of a failure, it would cost nearly $30,000 to replace.

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“The primary reason we want to move forward with this project is replacing the 20,000-litre underground tank,” said Watson. “We believe it could be a single-walled fibreglass tank. It requires frequent refilling and in summertime, sometimes weekly. We’ve seen in the past, underground tanks are prone to leaks. Our tank is about 30 years old and the negative environmental impacts and costly remediation cost is something we should be avoiding.

The town received a grant in 2023 from the BC Air Access Program covering up to $289,300 of the cost to replace the Avgas system. A modern Avgas fueling system for the Qualicum Beach Airport was designed was by Morrow Engineering which led town to issue request for proposals that closed on Oct. 31, 2021. Western Oil Services was the only tender submitted.

To meet the grant requirements, the work needs to be completed by March 31, 2024. In order to meet the deadline, parts need to be ordered now for them to arrive by March.

Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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