When you think of airports, normally items such as runways, airplanes, suitcases and control towers come to mind. However this summer at the Nanaimo Airport, trees have also been top of mind for the Nanaimo Airport Commission team.
In early May, Transport Canada conducted a review of the Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) on the approach using the Instrument Landing System (ILS). The review concluded the historical slope calculated at 3% was required to change to 2.5%. While the adjustment to this “surface” is well below the aircraft approach, it still needed to be addressed as part of airport operations.
“Although we have been doing annual vegetation management to maintain the approved slope, this change means we had to expand our efforts to several neighboring properties and the work included topping a number of additional trees,” explains Hooper.
The hot dry weather has been playing havoc with the fire danger class rating throughout the project and has caused several delays. However at time of writing this article in mid-August, there are only 5 cutting days left to complete the work. Based on current weather forecasts, the project will wrap up by the end of August.
Once the tree work is completed in August, the ILS will be fully functioning again.
This fall after the vegetation management work is finished, the Nanaimo Airport Commission is committed to ongoing fish habitat enhancement work within Haslam Creek and a re-vegetation strategy that will see additional vegetation in the riparian area, where necessary. In the long term, this replanting will allow for a transition from trees such as Poplar, that grow over 3m per year, to slower growing plants such as native shrubs.
“We would like send a huge thank you to our neighbours for helping us meet this new slope requirement. The positive response we have received while working on so many separate properties has been excellent,” shares Hooper.