Airport trail gives back to the community

Official opening of 9.3 kilometre trail is slated for October

Airport President and CEO Geoff Dickson stands in front of a newly paved section of the 9.3 kilometre trail that circumnavigates the airport. The trail is expected to be completed in October.

By Tim Collins

Contributor

The 9.3 kilometre paved trail around the Victoria International Airport is just another example of the Airport Authority’s commitment to giving back to the community, said airport president and CEO, Geoff Dickson.

“It’s important to us to be a positive part of this community and projects like this allow us the opportunity to contribute to its quality of life,” said Dickson.

He said that the noise generated by aircraft, coupled with increased traffic and other concerns has at times created an opinion that airports are less than ideal neighbours.

“We need to address that perception,” he said.

The trail will go a long way to demonstrate that the Airport Authority’s commitment is to improving the community, he said.

The $4.2 million project, entirely funded by the Airport Authority, was actually started in 2008 with the installation of a bike path along Mills Road.

The bulk of the work, however, has been done in the past year and a half and now only a small section along East Saanich Road remains to be completed. The entire pathway should be finished by mid-September.

“It’s going to provide the community with some amazing views of Patricia Bay and other incredible mountain and ocean vistas,” said Dickson.

“But they’ll also be able to see, up close and personal, everything from big 737’s to military helicopters as they come and go from the airport. For aviation buffs, it’s doubly exciting.”

It isn’t the first time that the Airport Authority has stepped up to the plate for the community, according to Eric Van Rooyen, the President of the Peninsula Baseball and Softball Association.

“In the mid-nineties, with the help of the Airport Authority, we were able to open Rotary Park – Field of Dreams on airport land,” said Van Rooyen, noting he facility is one of the best baseball and softball fields on Vancouver Island.

“We are truly blessed to have this facility, and it wouldn’t have happened without the airport’s help. This trail just adds to our facility as well,” he said.

Even before its official opening, it’s apparent that the trail has already attracted a substantial base of users.

“We have staff from the airport, the B.C. Aviation Museum, Viking Air and the Thrifty Food distribution centre all joining community residents to bike, jog and walk the trail,” said Dickson.

“It’s a huge topic of interest and excitement in the community.”

The official opening of the trail is slated for October.

More information on the trail can be found at www.victoriaairport.com/news/2012/a-new-bike-and-walking-trail-for-victoria-airport.