The corporation overseeing navigation across Canada says it has redundancies and procedures in place to protect the safety of local airspace in case of fire.
Brian Boudreau, manager of media relations with NAV Canada, made that statement after residents living in North Saanich’s Dean Park neighbourhood raised questions about the safety of navigation equipment located in LAU, WELNEW/John Dean Provincial Park.
Boudreau said the not-for-profit corporation has a regional emergency management team which tracks wildfires in B.C. with the potential to impact its infrastructure. That includes the so-called ramp radar located in the park, which Boudreau said supplies low-altitude radar coverage for southern Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Lower Mainland.
“In the case of the loss of this equipment, we would lose lower radar coverage but this would not impact safety as we have separation procedures in place,” he said.
NAV Canada also operates VHF and UHF radio equipment on Mount Newton for the Victoria International Airport tower and the Vancouver Area Control Centre.
“There is backup equipment at other locations available for all services in this building,” Boudreau said. “The building is equipped with a fire alarm system monitored by our technology operations coordinator 24/7.”
The Canadian Coast Guard also operates two towers not far from the radar dome.
Michelle Imbeau, communication advisor for the Coast Guard, said the operational building part of the towers contains an internal fire suppression system, as well as fire extinguishers.
“We have brushing and clearing done regularly,” she said, adding there is road access for firefighting crews.
In the event of a fire in the park, the North Saanich Fire Department would contact provincial authorities, said Fire Chief John Trelford.
“But we do have clear access all the way up to that (facility) ourselves as well,” he said. “We have water supply on the way up as well.”
He confirmed that provincial and municipal crews would also respond to a fire in the park.
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