President’s Corner – August 2016

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Windmills are threatening general aviation. It’s time for action – write to your MP!

Back in May we started putting the Freedom to Fly Fund to work to prevent putting up windmills near airports, specifically for Collingwood and Stayner, which seems pretty logical, doesn’t it? Having had many people voice their opposition to the project (among them some of our members), the Ontario government set up an Environmental Review Tribunal to decide if there is a threat to human life by putting up these windmills. That is where we got involved. There is no real jury as we know it, only two people who have no knowledge about aviation whatsoever. What’s a circuit? What does VFR mean? What does IFR mean?  This couple of deciders has in their hands a huge decision to make, one that could decide the outcome of two existing aerodromes, the lives of several pilots and ultimately, create a precedent on who has the last word on aviation in Canada.

So we have prepared a whole portfolio, trying to educate these two individuals, presenting the case and showing what is safe, what is not safe. Our taxpayers’ and COPA members’ dollars are spent in this case, which is an unnecessary exercise. Why?  Because all the while, Transport Canada (TC) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have been saying and educating the world on what is safe and not safe surrounding aviation.  Because TC has a document called TP1247-Land Use in the Vicinity of Aerodromes where it clearly spells out the four-kilometre safety radius around an aerodrome as a safeguard.  Because TC knows what can be done and what is in their power, as we (COPA, myself) have clearly presented the whole file to top TC authorities over two months ago.  The other ironic “official” option, clearly spelled out in the law, is for TC is to restrict operations, going all the way to shutting down the airport because it has now become unsafe for use.

We are asking for Minister Garneau to use his powers and impose the department’s safety guidelines (TP1247, TP312, etc.) they have developed over the last 60 years, not to let two lay people costing us millions of dollars go about trying to learn what is safe for aviation and what is not. But this case is “special” because it falls under the Ontario Green Energy Act which has precedence over almost everything and is extremely political in this day and age of being green.  We agree to being green, but not at the cost of aviator lives.  Since this is such a political issue, the only way we will get something done is to bring it to the House of Commons floor.  Do it.  It is in your hands, in your power.  Please go to our COPA Web site and click on the “Take Action” tab for all the details and write to your MP.

First results are in for the new COPA Flight

As you will see in this month’s issue, the new format of COPA Flight seems to please the vast majority of our members. We have collected a lot of responses through our survey tool and rest assured that all of them were read.  Keep you comments coming at bgervais@copanational.org.