September 5, 2019

COPA Flight Involved In Whitehorse Dock Issue


COPA Yukon Flight 106 has offered to help the City of Whitehorse and floatplane operators resolve issues over the availability of dock space at Schwatka Lake. Christoph Altherr, president of Yukon Chapter 106 says a meeting between stakeholders and government officials is needed to sort out issues that have arisen over access to the water by operators. “To ensure that everybody has first-hand information, it is important that such a meeting would include city council, city planners, Alpine, COPA, and possibly also other operators and maybe even pilots on the wait list for dock space,” Altherr told a city council meeting Sept. 3. “And since most land around the lake still belongs to the territorial government, a representative of (the territorial Department of) Highways and Public Works should be at the table too; after all, aviation is a territory-wide transportation matter.”

Issues over dock access were brought to a head with a long-simmering dispute between Alpine Aviation and the city over dock space. The city intends to give one of three docks now leased by Alpine to one of 18 operators on a waiting list for dock space. Alpine has been given until early October to move out of the dock and get it ready for another operator or come to an agreement with the new neighbour on sharing the space. The dock in question is leased by Alpine with the condition that the company allow visiting aircraft to tie up there. The city recently opened a public use dock so the itinerant space managed by Alpine is no longer needed. The city said that because the space is no longer needed for transient aircraft, it can be leased to someone on the waiting list but Alpine says it needs that dock space for its business.

Meanwhile, COPA has offered the services of an engineer who is a member of the flight to design a road widening and parking project that would allow the creation of more dock space on the lake. City officials said that engineering costs notwithstanding, the road project would still be costly but it’s planning to estimate those costs next year.