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Vancouver airport expansion project stalled due to COVID-19 losses

Last Updated Sep 9, 2020 at 8:42 pm PDT

Image Credit: CityNews

YVR's CORE infrastructure project has been stopped because of COVID-19 losses, decline in air travel

The project includes a new ground transportation centre and parkade, as well as a central utilities building

Construction already underway will stop by the end of November, but work can resume when the pandemic is over: YVR

RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) — A multi-million dollar expansion project at Vancouver International Airport has been halted because of losses linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All construction already underway for the $600-million project for a new ground transportation centre and parkade will stop by the end of November.

The CORE Program, designed when YVR was “experiencing double-digit growth,” includes a new central utilities building, as well as a geo-thermal heating and cooling system. Current systems will now be expected to support parking and utility needs “for the foreseeable future.”

With a decline in air travel during the pandemic, there isn’t an “immediate need for the additional capacity,” according to YVR.

President and CEO Tamara Vrooman says this decision was difficult, but necessary to ensure YVR’s financial stability.

“The prudent decision was to put it on hold and direct our resources to more pressing needs in the short term. The idea is that we’re stopping this project now in a way that we can easily pick it up in the coming years when the need to do so returns.”

She says up to 300 construction jobs are impacted and negotiations continue with the contractor to determine how much putting this project on hold will cost.

RELATED: Vancouver Airport Authority announces layoffs due to COVID-19

Vrooman says work on the project can resume when the pandemic is over while adding the focus is now shifting to support the recovery and restart of aviation.

That includes trials for health screening and testing, improving data and technology infrastructure, enhancing cargo facilities, and other projects that can be completed when the airport is less busy.

The $300-million Pier D International terminal expansion is still slated for completion by the end of this year.