Transport Canada eyes transferring Inner Harbour ‘airport’ to the City of Victoria

Harbour users worry about costs of Transport Canada passing responsibility of Inner Harbour to local authority.

Victoria’s primary seaplane operator believes Transport Canada shouldn’t give up control of the Inner Harbour airport to a local port authority or the City of Victoria.

Yesterday, Victoria city council discussed an offer from Transport Canada to engage in “informal” discussions about ownership and operation of the Victoria Harbour airport. The waterway is one of only 18 airports and the only water aerodrome in Canada still under direct federal ownership.

“(The Inner Harbour) works like a Swiss watch,” said Randy Wright, Harbour Air Seaplanes vice president. “This particular airport is not an asphalt runway. We have ferries, boats, whale watching, all sort of things going on in this harbour. … There are too many agendas for an authority to come in. The costs are already too high, and who’s going to bear those added costs?”

Transport Canada spokeswoman Jillian Glover stressed discussions with the city are only exploratory in nature, and any agreements would be subject to public process.

“Transport Canada would like to determine, through this informal discussion process, whether it is still the most appropriate entity to own and operate these airports, as recent experience has shown that local interests may be better-suited to address the needs of the users,” Glover said.

Acting mayor Pam Madoff said councillors chose to move the letter to a public agenda after receiving it in camera last month.

We’ve not met or talked with Transport Canada,” Madoff said before the meeting. “We’ve simply talked about process. I expect there will be lots of questions coming from council.”

Coun. Ben Isitt said the discussion represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take responsibility for the harbour airport.

“If done right, landing fees from aircraft movements can generate revenues for communities, providing financial benefits alongside the benefit of accountable local control of transportation systems.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Ronald Schinners, owner of The Cabbie in the #YYJ, opened his taxi service in the West Shore last month. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
‘One man show,’ The Cabbie in the #YYJ cultivates 45,000 followers on Instagram

New taxi company brings unusual spunk to the West Shore

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

The biggest risk to the Island's economy post-earthquake is that it may never return, according to Bruce Williams, interim CEO of the South Island Prosperity Partnership. (Contributed by Bruce Williams)
Greater Victoria businesses in chamber spotlight for 2021 awards

Annual awards program highlights local companies making the most of things, despite the pandemic

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read