Around 250 adults and children made the trek to the Prince Rupert Airport on Saturday to attend the grand opening of the newly renovated facility.
The afternoon was filled with sounds of balloons popping and the joyful laughter of children as they enjoyed balloon animals, bubble soccer, face paintings and a bouncy castle.
There were also tours which included sitting in a helicopter, a 5k fun run, a BBQ and many draws, including the grand prize of two tickets on an Air Canada flight to anywhere in North America.
“It’s really good for our community and this celebration is something nice on the weekend for family fun,” said Jeseema Nixon, who brought her two children to the event.
People arrived at the airport through a free bus and ferry, which had two different trips to and from Digby Island.
“It’s very nice, certainly an incredible job what they’ve done to this airport terminal compared to what we’ve had before,” said Dave Walker in between bites of his hamburger. He won a gift card in the draw.
Among those who attended were board members of the Prince Rupert Airport Authority (PRAA), Mayor Lee Brain, MLA Jennifer Rice, Lax Kw’alaams hereditary chief Gitxoon (Alex Campbell) and Lax Kw’alaams elected chief John Helin.
Some of the work done at the airport includes an entirely new exterior, a new roof and ceiling, energy-efficient lighting, new windows and offices and an upgrade to the pre-boarding area. A children’s play section has been added to that area and it is much bigger than it was.
But more work is still to be completed, including a water treatment plan that will recycle rainwater.
“What a great place to have that system in,” said airport authority chair Judy Fraser prior to ribbon cutting.
The PRAA will be receiving a BC Aviation Council award for the water system in October, she said.
Other upgrades to come will include another video wall in the pre-boarding area.
“We want to showcase our community. We can do some advertising, we can let people know what’s available when they get here as far as tours, entertainment and hotels,” Fraser said.
The overall airport renovations will make for a more comfortable experience in a world-class building, she said. Fraser also mentioned she hopes the improved facility will help to draw more airlines to the airport in the future.