The Canadian Museum of Flight is one step closer to moving into a new facility next to the Langley Regional Airport.
The flight museum received word last week that the Agricultural Land Commission has approved its relocation to land just wet of the existing airport.
For years, the museum has been in a hangar and buildings on the main airport site, without enough room to display more than part of its collection of vintage, restored, and replica aircraft.
The museum has been planning a move for 30 months.
The new 1.6 acre site is part of the 51-acre Derek Doubleday Arboretum, on floodplain land to the west of the airport. The new site is 45 per cent larger than the current museum footprint, and could accommodate a larger building. The site is the far southeastern corner of the arboretum, up against the airport and separated from most of the rest of the park by a creek.
One of the biggest challenges in moving to the site was its status as ALR land.
However, the ALR decision takes into account the site’s limited size and its physical connection to the airport.
“Finally!” said Gord Wintrup, the leader of the Building Task Force for the museum. “Now we can do serious facility fundraising and planning.”
Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese and airport manager Guy Miller also expressed approval of the decision.
When the Museum of Flight unveiled the plan in February, the estimated cost for the new facility was $2 million.
That would provide a 15,000 square foot concrete building, with another 5,000 square feet of mezzanine space. That would replace the existing 5,000 square foot facility, and many more aircraft could be stored indoors.
The museum has had issues with some of its planes being damaged by heavy snowfall in the past.
The Museum of Flight hosts a number of restored aircraft, from bush planes to Canadian fighters. It also has a rebuilt Handley Page Hampden bombers – only two examples exist anywhere in the world.