Four companies bid on Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport rehabilitation and renovation project

Some the 26 airplanes from as far away as British Columbia flew to the Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport in July 2020 as part of a rally.

GORE BAY – The municipal members of the Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport have received four tenders from companies bidding to carry out the designs for the rehabilitation and renovation work to be done on the airport (to send out for tenders), and to be the manager of the project.

“Yes, this is definitely progress,” stated Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne last week, of the four bids that have been received. He explained the bids were received on Wednesday of last week. “The bids have arrived but we have to make sure they are complete. Ken Noland (Reeve of Burpee-Mills), Lee Hayden (Reeve of Gordon/Barrie Island township), airport manager Robbie Colwell and I haven’t sat down to look at the bids. We will be going through the four bids and rating them, and then the contract will be awarded.”

Mayor Osborne said the tender posted, “is for the company that will be putting the design together of the work to be done, with our requests and asks, and then they will be putting this out for contractors to bid on for the various aspects of the project. The winning design bid from the four we received will manage the project from start to finish and make sure everything is done to specifications and put out the tenders for each aspect of the project.”

“We will be looking at the tenders that have come in, and we are planning to award the contract on or shortly after October 20,” said Mayor Osborne.

Tenders have been received from Exp., Belanger, Idea Inc. and Tatham. 

In July 2020, the federal government announced it was providing funding of $3,966,497 toward the rehabilitation of the Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport, including a new air terminal, helipad, expansion of the secondary runway and enhancements to security and wildlife fencing. This project will improve passenger safety and security, emergency responses and the flow of traffic.

Robby Colwell, manager of the airport, told The Expositor at the time the funding was announced, “With the enhancements covered under this funding program, our airport will become a more substantial aviation hub, serving a larger catchment area and be better positioned to leverage future opportunities. We will have a better foundation to build from and attract businesses to locate at the airport.”

“The new air terminal building will be the champion of the project. Our existing building opened in 1947, right after World War II, and has a bomb shelter in the basement. It does not satisfy many of the building codes of modern-day structures and has become a limiting factor for growth,” said Mr. Colwell. “The replacement terminal will be approximately four times as large and will be a modern, full service, multi-use air terminal building that will attract more users to our facility and strengthen our appeal to a diverse aviation community. The new building can serve as an emergency crisis management centre and will contain many features to deal with a large scale post-disaster occurrence. The airport already has much of the key infrastructure to deal with this type of emergency and the new terminal building will allow us to enhance the deliverables for this satiation, if/when it happens.”

The terminal will have a large centre core that will be the focal point of the building, with the largest part being a lounge that will be spacious and bright, offering great views of airside. Blended into this space will be a customer service and operations centre, Mr. Colwell explained. Upgraded and large capacity washrooms will include a barrier-free washroom and change tables. A pilot’s fatigue management centre will provide a quiet rest area for pilots to control fatigue and do flight planning in a calm, secluded setting.

The project will provide for a large multi-function room for training and aviation safety seminars, a food services area, rental office space will be available, as well as improved and expanded Canada Border Services office.

“The new terminal building will eliminate accessibility constraints experienced at our existing building,” continued Mr. Colwell. The widening and lengthening of the secondary runway will enhance aviation safety by providing an alternative landing surface to a broader range of aircraft. Plans include the installation of a helipad.

“Upgrades to our field electrical centre will establish a reliable and large-capacity emergency power unit and airfield lighting improvements,” said Mr. Colwell. And for a large-scale power interruption on the Island, the airport will be able to operate normally to support critical medical transfer flights and Hydro One power grid repair operations. The terminal can be transformed into a temporary emergency shelter if needed. 

A date of 2026 has been set for the project to be completed.