The owners of Oceanside Air have asked Qualicum Beach officials to reconsider a decision to end their lease at Qualicum Beach Airport.
In an open letter to the town dated Dec. 13, president Pavel Novak and vice president Jim Fyfe admitted they held a birthday celebration within the airport terminal building on Nov. 11, which the town contends made Oceanside Air in default of the lease.
The owners indicated any alleged infractions are their sole responsibility and that no blame should be assigned to staff, family, customers or to community supporters.
“As owners, we regret that our lack of planning and care have resulted in a conflict with the Town of Qualicum Beach – the community from which we have planned to serve,” they stated in their letter. “For this we are truly sorry.”
Novak and Fyfe indicated while the lease provides for the town to give notice of default to the tenant, there is also a stipulation that Oceanside Air has seven days to correct the default, which they claim they did. They indicated they took immediate action after they were notified by the town of the infraction.
In their letter to the town, they stated that on Nov. 16, Oceanside Air notified the town that effectively immediately, the air company had adopted a firm policy to not hold any meetings or staff functions within the airport terminal building.
“In our minds, our immediate action served to correct the default, within the seven days allowed by Section 30 of our lease, and should have been acceptable to the town that Oceanside Air had acted quickly and effectively to address the concerns raised in the town’s letter to us on Nov. 16,” the owners said.
Oceanside Air indicated the cancellation of the lease is “disproportionate to the admitted infraction.”
“We respectfully ask that the town reconsider its recent decision and reinstate its lease with Oceanside Air,” they said. “Notwithstanding our request for the town to reconsider its decision to cancel our lease; we ask if there is a period of time after which Oceanside Air may be invited to enter into a new lease with the Town of Qualicum Beach airport terminal. We are open to any discussion with the town which would allow Oceanside Air continuing its operation from the airport Terminal.”
The town conducted an investigation following a complaint Oceanside Air held a celebration at the airport, over a 90-minute period, unmasked and with open alcohol. The celebration extended outside Oceanside Air’s leased space, restricted areas of the airport in the public terminal and in the parking lot.
“Balancing the severity of the infractions, and the need to report aspects of this incident to Transport Canada, council decided to terminate Oceanside Air’s lease at the terminal with 90 days’ notice, while allowing the airline to maintain their ability to operate charter flights after the lease in the terminal has terminated on March 3, 2022,” the town stated in a press release.