At the outset, I should explain the role of Transport Canada. In the case of civil aviation in Canada, Transport Canada’s focus is on overseeing a safe and secure, efficient and environmentally responsible transportation system. Our emphasis is on safety. The Aeronautics Act and Canadian Aviation Regulations provide a comprehensive framework through which safety is regulated. Included are regulations dealing with minimum altitudes of aircraft, aircraft noise emissions and aircraft operating procedures.
There are no Aeronautical Regulations (Canadian Aviation Regulations – CARs) that prohibit a float plane from using a specific lake or water surface. Some lakes in BC, like ones that are used as a water supply for example, often have Provincial or National Park restrictions to motorized vessels. However, there are no current restrictions to float plane operations on Tyaughton Lake, or any of the lakes in that area.
Restrictions to Flight operations is strictly a Federal Issue. They are regulated primarily by the Aeronautics Act, the Canadian Aviation Regulations and associated Standards. Other than at large busy airports, there are no noise abatement procedures for small airports or on a ‘small remote lake’ such as Tyaughton. The Province, Municipalities or local authorities do not have the jurisdiction to control Aviation matters. BC Ministry of Environment, through BC Provincial Parks have land control authority which might prevent docking or off loading around a lake, but not the landing and taking off from the surface. Any restrictions on land use would be equally applicable to cars, camping, cottages, or other land uses and users.
As mentioned before certain lakes and watersheds that are primary sources for drinking water for a large population can be restricted to only Non-motorized vessels. e.g. Capilano watershed, which is the source of drinking water for a large part of the Lower Mainland. As a float plane is considered a vessel when it operates on the water, the boating regulations apply. Any change in vessel regulations would effect all other boating users on the lake as well.
Wildlife control areas such as bird sanctuaries, and Noise sensitive areas, can be listed on Aviation maps, but they only warn pilots to avoid such areas and be aware of the sensitivities. There are no Canadian Aviation Regulation (CARs) prohibiting the low flight or landing in these areas.
As the summer days get longer and start earlier, the residents in the area can expect the possibility of increased float plane operations. This is also true of increased vehicle traffic on the roads, and recreational boating on the water. Examination of available maps and photos indicates that there are a considerable number of roads, cottages, and docks around the lake. Restriction of use of this public area to one group of users as opposed to all users is not in accordance with keeping open access to all Canadians.
Float plane operations are only allowed during daylight hours. As you know, in the summer the daylight starts early and lasts later. Although the Pilot may not be violating any CARs, early morning arrivals and departures over residential areas (or temporary residential areas, i.e. campsites) often strain the good neighbour policy. The Pilot can be asked to consider the other users of a recreation area and conduct his/her activities accordingly.
Again the best solution is to keep open communication with all the users of this lake community, and come to mutual consensus for everyone’s acceptable use. Transport Canada should not be the facilitator of these discussions, nor I believe, would the BC Ministry of Environment want to get involved. However, I hope you find this information to be helpful and a useful tool when communicating with the Tyaughton Lake community."
I have checked with the SLRD staff and as of today's date (April 15) Tyax Wilderness Resort has not resubmitted their rezoning application. As I indicated at the time they suspended the orginal application, this is an opportunity for the Tyaughton Lake neighborhood to work out between everyone a good neighbor policy through dialogue with each other. With this in mind the Tyaughton Lake Ratepayer's Association have had at least one meeting between property owners and Tyax Wilderness Resort.
It has been reported that one thing was clear at the meeting, and that
is that Tyax Air and to a lesser extent TLH is a major concern for the vast
majority of property owners in the area of the lake. TLH is willing to
work with us to try to mitigate some of the disturbance that they cause, we’re
investigating ways that can happen. One of the first things TLH has
committed to preparing is a summary of their operating plan when it comes to
the helicopter and why. According to the Tyaughton Lake Ratepayers Association this will hopefully allow for continued dialogue and working out of a good neighbor policy. In addtion, I understand, Al Macdonald (TRA Director at Large) has been asked to lead a
committee to meet and discuss property owners concerns regarding Tyax Air use of Tyaughton Lake.
This is where things stand to the best of my understanding at the moment. I continue to strongly encourage dialogue and accomodation between all neighbors and businesses. If there is anything I can do to assist at this time please let me know.