Coming to an airport near us: new keep-out signs

By David F. Rooney

New signage and fencing will soon be erected to keep people and their dogs from walking through the riparian area next to the airport.

“There are concerns of persons and/or their pets accessing the runway and a possible conflict with aircraft taking off or landing at the airport,” Gary Holte, manager of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s Environment and Engineering Services said in a brief interview Tuesday afternoon.

He also said keeping people out of the riparian area would be good for the environment.

However, Holte also acknowledged that he is unaware of any instance in which a person or a dog interfered with an aircraft landing or taking off.

The area has long been a popular place for people to walk their dogs or go bird watching. Last April, however, the CSRD began discouraging people from accessing the flats next to the airport when NAV Canada relocated its Automated Weather Observation System to a purpose-built, berm-protected area just north of the runway.

Holte said the Revelstoke Airport Committee is well aware of the public’s desire to use the area and considered installing a chain-link fence parallel to the runway to “provide a physical barrier to persons and animals from the runway and aircraft activity.”

But, with a price tag of more than $100,000, and higher priorities at the airport that was considered too costly.

“The Committee appreciates the cooperation of the public with this issue,” committee Chairwoman CSRD Director Loni Parker said in a statement issued Tuesday morning.  “Fortunately, we reside in one of the most beautiful areas of the world that has countless locations to enjoy nature.”