The city’s aerodrome could one day be a fully-fledged, passenger-friendly airport.

While there’s much left to do before take-off, Merritt’s city council earmarked $25,000 in this year’s budget to undertake an airport master plan to guide the future of Saunder’s Field.

“If we want to stay as we are we don’t have to do anything. But if we want to create an airport that is certified, that can bring tourists, passengers in, then we will need to do this plan and it will need to be incorporated into the OCP,” said mayor Linda Brown.

In a presentation to council at a special committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 11, consultant Rob Beynon of Operations Economics Inc. outlined several recommendations for the city to consider for improving the airport moving forward, including replacing fuel tanks and creating a master plan to address development and zoning.

At a regular council meeting on Feb. 26, the city’s director of planning and development Mark Brodrick said gaining a better understanding of council’s vision for the airport moving forward will help direct their planning.

There is development pressure in the airport area to be considered as well, Broderick added.

“If we are not careful and we approve development, that could actually limit, restrict, determine in a sense what classification of airport Merritt would achieve in the future,” he said. “So I am suggesting it may be better to make a conscious decision about it.”

Council unanimously agreed to undertake an airport master plan on Tuesday, which will return to council at a later date.