Last week marked the 10-year anniversary of the first WestJet plane to land in the Comox Valley.
Hundreds of local residents gathered in the parking lot of the old terminal to watch and cheer as the plane touched down. I was one of those people cheering because this inaugural flight had a personal connection.
I was one of the first members on the airport commission and part of the team that met with WestJet to discuss the possibilities of providing service to Comox.
Negotiations went back and forth. It was the can-do attitude of airport manager Chuck Fast, supported by the commission members, that won the day.
In January of 2001, the Comox Valley Airport Commission received the much-hoped-for and anticipated call from WestJet that service would start in March.
Excitement abounded! And the reality of the daunting task ahead.
We had to prepare the terminal and facilities as best we could, expand the parking, and plan for the future. There were a lot of doubts that this could really happen, but with vision and fortitude, WestJet service to the Central Island became a reality.
This momentous day was the result of a culmination of hard work, vision and determination by many people. It became readily apparent that WestJet operations would become a huge success, so the airport commission went about planning for the future, which resulted in the construction of the new terminal, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Happy anniversary, WestJet. It has been a wild ride and a lot of fun.