At their Nov. 16 meeting, Qualicum Beach town council passed the draft terms of reference for an airport users committee. The goal of the committee is to improve communication and collaboration between users and the community and improve the overall airport operations, according to the town.
The committee will have 11 members, including two from the town, and one each from Chartwell, the flying club and each of the businesses that operate at the airport.
“I have to admit this is not exactly how I envisioned the committee would look when I made the original motion on drafting the terms of reference,” said Coun. Anne Skipsey.
Skipsey had made the motion in September after a group of residents presented a petition calling for a ban on early morning flights to reduce noise.
The noise issue was partially addressed soon after with a new federally-enforced Noise Abatement Procedure (NAP) that had already been in the works.
“I thought it would be more of a citizen committee and be more balanced between the community and operators,” Skipsey said. “However, if this is what staff’s recommending as the best way to deal with issues such as noise… then I am willing to support the motion.”
She said they could review and update the terms of reference in a year if it doesn’t prove to be effective.
“Governance is really council; we’re not looking for another body to govern… this is a working group,” said Mayor Teunis Westbroek, adding that serious issues should go before council anyway.
“We are not talking about the governance of the airport, per se,” agreed Chief Administrative Officer Daniel Sailland. “When we talk about users we’re not talking about travellers, we’re talking about established businesses, neighbours, etc.”
Staff will advertise for one committee Member at Large from the community and the group will meet a minimum of once every four months.
◆ Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer attended the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s (VIEA) Economic Summit in Nanaimo. He reported back to council that is was an excellent event with a lot of useful information about things like why entrepreneurs move to this area, the benefits to the community of special events and how municipalities everywhere are moving from having economic development officers to “business introduction services.”
He encouraged people to check out VIEA’s 52 page, first ever Sate of the Island Economic Report, available at www.viea.ca.
◆ The next QB council committee of the whole meeting is Wednesday, December 2, 10 a.m. The next regular meeting is Monday, December 7, 7 p.m.