Protect Your Unregistered Aerodrome Before New Laws Come Into Effect

Later this year there will be new legislation coming into effect that will require a public consultation process for any new or previously unknown airstrips. This consultation process will involve both the local community in which the airstrip is or will be located as well as the federal government regardless of whether or not the airstrip is on private land.

Copied from a letter to the BCGA from Tim  Cole
(BC/Yukon COPA Director)

July 8, 2016

Following a particular issue with an unregistered aerodrome, I was asked to prepare guidelines to assist Directors when asked questions about airports or aerodromes.
The purpose of this is to prove the existence of an unregistered/unlisted aerodrome before the mandatory consultation process becomes law.  As it stands, any EXISTING aerodrome should not be subject to the consultation process and would fall under the existing regime, until such time as certain significant changes (to be defined in Gazette 2) are made to it.

Three options come to mind and perhaps many more are possible
1. Aerodrome Logbook/Binder
I suggest to current owner of an unregistered aerodrome to start an Aerodrome logbook/binder, gather past evidence of the aerodrome`s existence in this logbook, such as old documents, old photos, invoices, permits, letters or log conversations with neighbors, municipalities, other aerodromes/airports, etc…   This suggestion stems from many informal meetings with Transport Canada staff working on this Amendment. 

If a complaint from a Municipality or a neighbor is filed against a current aerodrome owner, the first contacted is TC, then TC are required to investigate the allegations. TC will contact the presumed offender and will ask for clarification. TC would be satisfied with a copy of an aerodrome logbook demonstrating the year of existence, notification & mitigation of neighbours’ concerns and any other due diligence on the part of the aerodrome owners. TC requires tangible proof not hearsay, rumors or feuds between neighbours.

As explained the BC General Aviation Association’s (COPA Flight 194’s)  airstrip map and the previous BCAC Air Facilities chart can be used as part of the evidentiary package to help invoke grandfather rights that indeed a particular aerodrome was in existence prior to the establishment of the new regulations.   
2. Registered Letter to Transport Canada 
Send a registered letter to their regional Transport Canada office declaring the aerodrome`s existence and details  (sample letter by Tim Cole attached below)

3. Register In CFS (Read Carefully)
Register their aerodrome in the Canada Flight Supplement however a caveat must be declared. Registering in the CFS may also cause some problems or extra costs to the aerodrome owner because in some circumstances the TC Inspector  may adjudicate the aerodrome is not up to standards and requires changes or may judge the aerodrome is located in a Built-up area requiring a costly Airport Certification.
New aerodrome proponents or major changes to an existing aerodrome
Until the Amendment becomes law, ‘’Keep in mind protection under Federal Jurisdiction will still exist as long as proponents Notify, Consult and Mitigate concerns with their municipality and neighbours’’  I suggest they keep records (Aerodrome Logbook concept) of all their efforts to Notify, Consult and Mitigate concerns. Obviously some Municipalities & neighbours will do everything in their power to prevent an aerodrome from being developed and can become prohibitively costly to defend oneself.
Municipal building permits or not. I start by asking how is your relationship with your Municipality and neighbours. I also give a few examples of my experience to the COPA member.
 I.            Aerodrome owner that applied for a Building permit and is compelled to apply each time he builds another hangar because he wants to keep his small Municipality in good favour and it gives him some reassurance in case of a dispute. 

II.            Aerodrome owner that explained the Federal Jurisdiction to the Municipality and this Municipality is proud to have an aerodrome. This aerodrome owner also does a lot of community work using his aerodrome.

 III.           Rideau Valley aerodrome (Ottawa area), is owned by the Municipality but managed by COPA Flight Westport. This Municipality is extremely happy, coexistence and  symbiosis of the aerodrome and this group of volunteers, the aerodrome brings Cottage country tourism and many new cottage owners commute from Toronto with their aircraft. Unfortunately to build a hangar this Municipality is required to follow the Ontario Municipal requirements but they purchased one Engineer design that they share and split the cost with all future hangars owners.
I conclude with: the decision is up to each individual according to their level of confidence and comfort with the Municipal authorities and neighbours.
Patrick Gilligan
Vice President, Operations

Unregistered Aerodrome Draft Letter Copy
File Size:9 kb
File Type: docx

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