Frustrated by the decline in treatment of general aviation at his home airport Jim took the lead and with the support of the BCGA and COPA has spent the better part of the past year trying to make a difference at his home airport of Terrace-Kitimat. It is with pleasure that I share this letter written by Jim himself as he outlines some of the progress that he has made.
On behalf of all aviators I wish to thank Jim for his efforts and persistence.
Letter From Jim
The genesis of this frustrating experience coincided with the arrival of a new, green airport manager at CYXT 8 years ago. At that time there was a very active fixed wing community based there, including an 8 member T hangar group that had been on the field since 1975.
Soon after his arrival his aversion to general aviation and fixed wing in particular became evident as he removed the tie downs for both local and itinerant aircraft, imposed significant fees for apron parking which was not the safest for small aircraft. Over a 5 year period, he did everything within his power to evict the hangar group, which he finally accomplished in 2016. The hangars sat empty for 3 years before being demolished this past spring. Of that group of 8 ,4 sold and exited aviation while 4 of us relocated our aircraft to friendly airports, albeit some distance away which makes regular flying challenging. With no aircraft based at the airport PEP Air/CASARA soon lost it members and its ability to provide SAR support to a large portion of the province!
A year ago, after my request to make a presentation to the Airport Society’s Board of Directors was intercepted by the airport manager and refused I approached each of the 4 founding Society Members, 2 municipal governments and 2 Chambers of Commerce individually, outlining how the airport policies were negatively impacting their own members and the community in general, economically as well as safety.
My letters were read into their minutes and as such became public record. In November the Editor of the Terrace Standard requested an interview to follow up on the letter. After 5 months of research and diligence which included contacting both BCGAA and COPA for comments and information it became evident that the story would not be flattering to CYXT and the decision was made by the Terrace Standard notto publish the article. This was based on the fact that the airport is a significant advertising client and at the time a lot of the anti GA decisions were being made the Publisher was a Director of the Airport Society. This is the same newspaper that fired a columnist after writing a article critical of the airport to which the airport manager complained to the publisher (the article was spot on).
After my efforts to effect change relatively in house became futile I started utilizing the power of Social Media. This resulted in an invitation from the President of the Airport Society for a one on one meeting in July of this year.
The first positive outcome of our meeting was that last week the airport installed tie down anchors for 3 aircraft on the grass infield directing abutting the main apron. According to a reliable source (NavCan) the new tie downs have already generated positive pilot feedback. While not the ideal location due to prop and jet wash from the larger aircraft on the apron, it is indeed a major step forward. The caveat on the tie downs is that they will only be available May through September each year. I will continue my efforts to have them relocated to a more GA user friendly area.
The airport manager continues to impose a unique set of landing fees which are out of step with most airports. I have submitted comparisons of other airports to the President of the Airport Society and will continue to lobby to have YXT’s amended to reflect the industry norm.
Note: YXT has not updated its website to reflect the new tie downs.