Several years ago, the Victoria airport was run by Transport Canada. In the late 1990s, operational responsibility was granted to the Victoria Airport Authority.
Until recently, the Airport Authority has, by and large, done a credible job of running and expanding the airport.
Recently however, they have made a couple of decisions that shows how out of touch they have become with respect to local needs and wishes.
The first is the proposed Gateway project. To make this happen, land being used for agriculture had to be taken out of the ALR. In an era of droughts and expanding population, this decision does not make sense. Furthermore, judging from the comments printed in this paper, there are considerable concerns about the impact of this project on the struggling business community in Sidney — and on an already clogged intersection at the corner of Beacon Avenue and the Pat Bay Highway. The proposed pedestrian overpass will do nothing to solve this problem.
The second is the huge electronic billboard at the entrance to the airport. Such a sign would be forbidden in both Sidney and North Saanich but because the airport is on Federal land they can proceed with impunity. It is as out of place there as a dolphin is in the desert.
One of the stated needs for these developments is as a revenue generator. Given the amounts involved, it will only delay an airport improvement fee increase by a matter of months. In the meantime we have lost our community forever.
The Airport Authority needs to become much more responsive to public needs and wishes and respectful of the residents who live in the communities in which it is located.
It has clearly lost touch.
Bruce Tutt, North Saanich