The long road to Westjet service in Kamloops

As City CAO Randy Diehl was showing off the WestJet model he’d received  at today’s inaugural-flight ceremonies, John O’Fee reminded those who were admiring the gift that I had paid for  just such a model several years ago with my own money.

Indeed, O’Fee and I sat down nine years ago to talk about bringing WestJet to Kamloops. He was a first-term councillor and I was the rookie mayor, and we both saw improved airline service as key to the longterm prosperity of the local economy.

He and I met with WestJet many times. One day, after we’d visited with WestJet management at their head office in Calgary, and were waiting for our Jazz flight back home, I bought a model of a Westjet 737 at an airport gift shop. That thing stayed on my desk for the next six years, a symbol of our determination to get the airline to come to Kamloops. It was no easy job.

Well, it took nine years and three mayors, plus folks from the business and tourism industries who became part of the effort for varying lengths of time, but WestJet finally landed at Kamloops Airport today. Throughout that time, O’Fee was a constant as president of the Kamloops Airport Authority, so if it was anyone’s day it was his.

I’m guessing he got one of those WestJet 737 desk models, too, and he deserves it.

About Mel Rothenburger (9358 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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