Editorial: Dangers of inner-city airstrips are real

Two separate aviation incidents within 39 hours of each other in Courtenay created a lot of discussion regarding the safety of the Courtenay Airpark.

At the scene of the May 9 crash landing in the Comox Valley Animal Hospital parking lot, Don Bardonnex said that was his 10th response to an aviation incident in his seven-and-a-half years as Courtenay fire chief.

Certainly not all incidents are as serious as the May 9 crash, which sent the pilot to hospital after his plane reportedly lost power. (It is believed the pilot was attempting to make an emergency landing in the field behind the animal hospital.)

The less serious of the two incidents that week saw a small plane overshoot the runway at the airpark and crash into the fence.

Although there were no injuries in that incident, there very well could have been a tragic ending. A children’s playground sits not 50 feet from the fence line.

A quick search brings up at least three aircraft incidents with planes at the Rotary Skypark end of the airpark in the first four years of the Skypark playground’s existence.

Arguments that the playground does not line up with the runway are illogical. That’s like arguing that ditches are not part of the road, so no cars should ever hit the ditch.

When a plane is in distress, anything can happen.

The Rotary Skypark is a beautiful facility, and a popular one as well. But how much forethought was given to the park’s location? Not nearly enough.

A playground at the end of an aviation runway is a bad idea. It’s an accident waiting to happen, and when it does, all the apologies in the world may not be enough to rectify the result.

Yes, the airpark has been a part of the Courtenay Estuary for a long time. It’s been around longer than most current residents. But this may be one of those instances where “it was here first” is not the best argument. With the natural densification of the city, the hazards of having an inner-city airport grow exponentially — and the risks of injuries to innocent bystanders also grows.

Perhaps the time has come to re-think the practicality of an inner-city airstrip.

–TF

 

Just Posted

Affordable rental housing complex opens in Courtenay

The Braidwood facility will house 34 people at risk of homelessness

Applications open for record bursary, scholarship funding at North Island College

Current and future North Island College students can now apply for scholarships… Continue reading

Second Stage Players present laughter and love in We Are Family

Get your tickets early to see the Evergreen Club’s Second Stage Players’… Continue reading

Open house opens access for those suffering from vision loss

Pat Chicquen understands how isolating losing vision can be, which is why… Continue reading

Valley SPCA overwhelmed with 45 cats taken from local property

Many of the cats have never been around humans, or have never been touched or handled.

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Comox Valley Hospice Society finds new Ocean Front home

Comox Valley Hospice Society (CVHS) recently announced plans to construct a new… Continue reading

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Vancouver Island motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash

Collision took place west of Whiskey Creek; man in his 70s died

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

Most Read