Changes could be on the way at Qualicum Beach airport

Councillors express frustration with the way the facility operates now

It may be time to look at different ways to operate the Qualicum Beach Airport, says town councillor Bill Luchtmeijer.

Currently, the town owns and operates the facility, but does not have a staff member on site. Luchtmeijer says the management of the facility basically entails a town staff member working “off the corner of their desk from town hall.”

“We don’t have a staff member or manager on site,” said Luchtmeijer. “We are not airport operators.”

Qualicum Beach town council asked staff months ago for a report about what it would take to develop an airport authority to manage the facility. Luchtmeijer asked staff again for that report at town council’s most recent meeting but was told by town manager Mark Brown that staff had “other priorities.”

Luchtmeijer said tree cutting and snow clearing are major issues for those who use the airport, chiefly KD Air, Orca Air and Sunwest Helicopters.

There have been times Transport Canada has not allowed flights in or out of the airport because of the unkempt trees or because of snow removal issues.

“Those issues should have been obvious,” said Luchtmeijer. “We are just too far away physically to stay on top of it.”

KD Air owner Diana Banke said she met Thursday morning with Luchtmeijer and fellow councillors Mary Brouilette to discuss the airport.

“I think we got a real good feeling that perhaps things will change at the airport,” Banke told The NEWS late Thursday.

Banke said she believes an airport authority “is usually way too many people and that costs money and this airport can’t afford that.”

“What we’re looking for is (for the town to) to delegate and airport manager.”

Banke said the head tax levied by the town on her business — a certain amount charged for every passenger flying in and out — has increased every year the past four years and is scheduled to increase 17 per cent again in January.

“The fees keep rising and rising and we get nothing for it,” said Banke. “The town needs to take a look at how they treat their community businesses.”

Banke also expressed concerns the town is going to reduce the length of the runway by 150 feet next month due to concerns over trees and a neighbouring farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Vehicle knocks out Parksville power pole

Traffic single lane heading southbound

Qualicum Beach man arrested after women report disturbing phone calls

Suspect threatened to kill victim’s family if she did not engage in sexually explicit conversation

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Highway 19A closed in both directions near Union Bay

An incident involving a vehicle has shut down Highway 19A in both directions early Saturday morning.

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Most Read