Many of your readers are undoubtedly aware of the activity related to the selective topping and cutting of trees in the vicinity of the Comox aerodrome.
As the commanding officer of 19 Wing, I would like to highlight 19 Wing’s commitment to air safety and to the environment.
By working with landowners and our partners in environmental stewardship, we aim to improve air safety at the Comox aerodrome while striving to minimize the impact on the environment.
In the Kye Bay area, trees have grown to the point that some of them encroach into critical areas known as the Missed Approaches and Transitional Surfaces of the aerodrome’s airspace.
For everyone’s safety, these critical flight areas must be clear of obstacles in accordance with air transport safety laws and regulations; particularly when pilots make an approach in poor weather conditions or during an airborne emergency.
It is important to note that no trees inhabited by the Great Blue Heron are identified to be cut or topped as part of this project, and that no arborist work is conducted within the environmental protection zone around the heron rookery during the nesting season. In addition, environmental experts are assessing the cumulative effect of removing forest canopy and exploring techniques to minimize impact on the herons and their habitat.
We are working with our partners in environmental stewardship including the B.C. Ministry of Lands, Forests and Natural Resources and the Canadian Wildlife Service to ensure all laws, regulations and best management practices are adhered to throughout this effort.
19 Wing continues to enjoy an outstanding relationship with the Comox Valley Airport Commission and we look forward to a continued and vibrant partnership that permits the safe operation of both military and commercial aircraft from the Comox aerodrome.
Col. J.C. Benninger