Federal government examines floatplane concerns

Transport Canada, which regulates the Inner Harbour aerodrome, will re-establish a residents’ committee on the topic, with the City of Victoria's participation.

Floatplanes are coming under close srcutiny in the Inner Harbour.

After two years of sitting on recommendations by the City of Victoria, Transport Canada is taking the first step to managing frustrations fueled by noise and pollution generated by floatplanes.

The federal body, which regulates the Inner Harbour aerodrome, will re-establish a residents’ committee on the topic, with the city’s participation.

Coun. Lynn Hunter, the liaison for James Bay, called it “good news.”

“It really does need to have local citizens’ involvement, as much to educate local citizens on the issues as it is for the local citizens to educate the government on the issues,” she said.

In 2009, the James Bay Neighbourhood Association commissioned its own study on noise pollution.

Association president Tim Van Alstine said when Transport Canada moved the floatplane runway away from the Inner Harbour, it shifted noise pollution to new residential pockets in James Bay.

The change was made with no community consultation, he added.

Van Alstine also blames city councils, past and present, for rezoning land for residential development too close to the working harbour.

When a plane takes off, he said, people living nearby can’t maintain a conversation.

These concerns were recently heard by city council.

On Sept. 22, council rezoned a water lot in the Inner Harbour, allowing for a 25-metre extension to an existing floatplane dock.

Some residents worried a longer dock would increase the industry’s capacity to grow. Hunter, however, pointed out the longer dock will replace a number of smaller ones.

It’s the type of concern that could get fleshed out and resolved through the new residents’ committee, whose mandate is better communication.

The dock extension isn’t a done deal yet. Transport Canada must still approve the project.

For now, the federal regulator prioritizes only safety issues when it makes these types of decisions.

In the future, this equation could be broadened to include qualify of life issues, should the new residents’ committee prove effective.

But it’s only a first step.

Better communication is one of four recommendations the city made to then transport minister John Baird in 2009.

The city also asked the federal government to consider installing noise monitoring stations and to study the impact of noise and air emissions.

The city also asked for the feds to establish a maximum number of flights based on more than safety concerns.

This cap should be one  “that will not further aggravate noise and air pollution … for nearby residents,” council said.

In response, council got a letter but no action.

Hunter pressed the issue again last month. With the backing city councillors, she resent the letter, this time to a new Transport Minister Denis Lebel.

Neither Lebel, nor anyone in the Transport department was available for an interview.

In an email to the News, however, spokesperson Rod Nelson said: “Transport Canada has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to the extensive and proactive oversight of the Victoria’s water aerodrome, in particular the operational and community impacts associated with harbour operations.”

For the record: In an article published Aug. 31, the News erroneously reported that the city approved rezoning the water lot to allow for the realignment of a float-plane dock for use by Harbour Air and Kenmore Air. In fact, the city approved first and second reading of the motion to rezone.

 

Did you know?

While the number of daily float plane takeoffs  and landings has increased over the decades, they have shrunk in recent years. The industry peaked in 2007, with 43,610. By 2010, the number decreased by more than 10,000.

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich firefighters save Remembrance Day ceremony at retirement home

The flag cord broke and crews worked to get it back up in time for the ceremony

Christian minister accused of transphobia draws small audience, protesters in Sidney

Art Lucier is ‘100 per cent’ sure would-be audience stayed away because of perceived controversy

Victoria women’s program in critical need of household items for women

Everything from dining sets to beds is needed to keep their programs running

Peninsula Panthers face nemesis Victoria Cougars Friday night

Cougars are the only Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team to have beaten the local Cats twice

New Kiwanis club is official for West Shore

Ten members in 10 days hits the mandatory mark for new service club

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

Vancouver Island substitute teacher said he wanted a student to ‘whack’ two others on Grade 8 field trip

Campbell River teacher-on-call suspended three weeks after November 2018 incident

Disney Plus streaming service hits Canada with tech hurdles

Service costs $8.99 per month, or $89.99 per year, in Canada

Trudeau’s opponents: One gives him an earful, another seeks common ground

PM meets with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe

Rona’s ‘truly Canadian’ ads are inaccurate, watchdog says

Ads Standards points out U.S.-based Lowe’s acquired Rona in 2016

Brian Burke considered favourite to replace Don Cherry

Brian Burke is the 5-4 pick to be the full-time replacement next season

Major donor Peter Allard takes UBC to court to get his name on all law degrees

Philanthropist claims school not adhering to 2014 agreement for his $30-million donation

Most Read