Battle for airport customs service has long history

Another business proposal, again in an attempt to have better Canada Customs coverage (after hours) for our city's Fulton Field Airport and surrounding tourist resorts (The Daily News, Feb. 16, 2012).

May I provide some background of Canada Customs and our airport facility?

Shortly after the City of Kamloops had received its temporary license for what was to be known as Kamloops Municipal Airport, Council took steps for the airfield to be granted status as a port of entry for air transportation. The Kamloops Sentinel, Aug. 1, 1939, states that the airfield was a port of entry and that H.L. Fewings was the inspector.

Mr. Fewings' first duties, prior to the official opening of Kamloops' new airfield on Aug. 5, 1939. may have been to inspect the documents of the American aircraft and people arriving for this big event.

Shortly after the official opening of the airfield, World War II was declared and a few years later the airfield would be part of the National Defence operations. In that period the airfield was officially renamed "Fulton Field."The runway was on 90 per cent of the original City-owned property.

At the instigation of Ald. Charles E. Scanlan, steps were being taken to restore the "Fulton Field" back to prewar status for customs and immigration. Canada Customs service to "Fulton Field" was restored.

The City of Kamloops took over the control and operation of "Fulton Field" on May 1, 1946. Shortly after, families were being housed there due to the after-war housing crisis.

Another reference to "Fulton Field" being designated a customs port of entry, April 1959, is information attached to a photograph in the files of Kamloops Museum and Archives.Customs officer in the photo was F.A. Child.

Fred Legace, Kamloops Airport manager, is not facing something new in dealing with Canada Customs. The chamber of commerce was dealing with that same after-hours problem in 1980.

After the opening of the new airport passenger terminal in 1985, Pacific Western Airlines was successful in dealing with Canada Customs in having a bonded sufferance warehouse within the passenger terminal.Renovation of the previous passenger terminal also made space for the office of Canada Customs.

What a great benefit to the airline's cargo consignees and for the clearance of itinerant trans-border aircraft.This took a long time coming, as Summit Air Services was attempting to have "Fulton Field" designated Canada Customs full commercial status in 1966.R.A.G. Gee, local Customs official, at the time, advised the volume of business did not require it.

The new terminal also brought international gambling charters, for which the return flights were handed by pre-arranged on-call Customs officers.

In the last line of the 1980 article, chamber director Jim Ball's remarks are, "I don't think it (the problem) will go away."

Hope Mr. Legace has a better outcome to the problem.

Should any readers have family albums containing photos of Canadian Pacific Airlines and Pacific Western Airlines aircraft, on Fulton Field, involved with Canadian Legion Charters to Britain, I would be interested in hearing from them.

NEIL BURTON

Kamloops

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