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Community

Airport shares ideas for its land with neighbours

By | Airport Improvements, Community

Nanaimo Airport is interested in being a good neighbour and in the views of the people who live around its property.

That’s why the airport has for the last year shared information and consulted with neighbouring communities about developing its vacant land. Three public information sessions last month provided yet another opportunity for residents to be heard.

The information sessions were held in Nanaimo, Cedar and Ladysmith. They focused on options for unlocking the potential of the airport’s unoccupied land, which will enhance the central Vancouver Island economy with new jobs and investments.

“We were seeking input into some Draft designs,” says Mike Hooper, the airport’s CEO and president. “We received some excellent feedback, which we appreciate.”

The development scenarios were shaped earlier this year by a major two-day planning forum involving a cross-section of airport stakeholders. Attendees included representatives from local and regional governments, First Nations, the business community, the project architect, and the Nanaimo Airport Commission Board of Directors. They brainstormed possibilities that could benefit the region while meeting the commission’s guiding principles as well as its rigorous development standards.

Commission decisions are governed by the following principles:

  • Opportunities for interested parties to provide input shall be provided.
  • Protection of environmentally sensitive resources will be a key consideration in determining land use.
  • The objectives of the consultation process will be clearly established.
  • The process shall allow for a meaningful level of involvement.
  • All positions and input shall be considered; not all input can and will be accommodated.
  • The integrity of broad public involvement must be paramount and not be superseded by any individual or interest group.
  • Technical information used in decision making shall be made available to the public.
  • Airport operations will be paramount and all uses shall either be airport related or complimentary.
  • A timeline for the process will be clearly communicated.

The Nanaimo Airport continues to request input through its “Building for the Future” page at www.nanaimoairport.com.

Snowbirds’ sky-high aerobatics come back to Nanaimo for charity

By | Community

The world-renowned Canadian Forces Snowbirds are on their way back to Nanaimo.

The 431 Squadron returns to the city for some high-flying aerobatics on Wednesday, Aug. 8. The free show starts at 5:30 p.m. above the city’s harbour in downtown Nanaimo.

The Snowbirds are ambassadors for the non-profit CH.I.L.D. Foundation, which helps children living with inflammatory bowel diseases. The aerial show here will help raise awareness and funds for the foundation.

Nanaimo Airport and Nanaimo Flying Club will host a special private session for the Snowbirds and local C.H.I.L.D. members. The kids and their families will meet the aces and take pictures with them. A similar meeting took place during the Snowbirds’ last visit to the city in 2016.

“It’s such a special moment for everyone,” says Nanaimo Airport CEO Mike Hooper. “I can’t wait to see the smiles when the kids and their families get to meet the pilots and see the planes up close.”

The foundation’s mandate is to find a cure for Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis and liver disorders. The illnesses cause excruciating pain, vomiting and chronic fatigue, among other symptoms. Children living with the disorders are often confined to their homes. As a result, they miss a lot of school and can’t participate in many activities such as playing sports.

“We’re proud to support the great work of the CH.I.L.D. Foundation,” says Hooper. “It helps to make a difference in the lives of Central Island families.”

In their 48th season, the Snowbirds travel North America to perform thrilling aerobatics and breathtaking fly-bys. The team’s 24 pilots make about 60 appearances every year.

During a performance, they fly at speeds ranging from 185 km/h to 590 km/h. In many of the formations the jets will be about 1.2 metres apart.

After the Nanaimo performance the Snowbirds will perform at the Abbotsford Air Show.

Airport AGM returns directors to oversee their legacy

By | Community

The latest Nanaimo Airport AGM ensured that the same people who envisioned the $15-million expansion project at Nanaimo Airport (that will serve as a legacy for future generations) will continue to steer it.

All nine appointed members of the Nanaimo Airport Commission Board of Directors were returned to their posts at the airport’s Annual General Meeting. Directors set the airport’s strategic direction. In a nutshell, they are people who live and work in our communities making decisions that benefit everyone who lives and works here. They also ensure that systems are in place to protect airport operations and finances.

Their long-term vision, laid out in a 20-year terminal master plan, led to the $15-million infrastructure investment. It will expand the airport’s capacity and stimulate regional economic development. The commission broke ground last month on the project, which will enlarge the Air Terminal Building by 60 percent

Directors bring a range of experience and skills to their work, and they are all active in their communities. Five are appointed the City of Nanaimo, Regional District of Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Town of Ladysmith and Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, with four other directors representing the community at large.

Lucie Gosselin (at large) returns as board chair. She’s a chartered accountant and certified management consultant. Vice-chair Wendy Clifford (at large) is a partner in a law firm. Secretary Al Tully (RDN) was an operational air traffic controller and manager. Mike Brown (at large) has practiced law for many years and grew up in an aviation background. Ray Gauthier (at large) oversees a First Nations economic development agency as its CEO. Colleen Johel  (CVRD) is the managing partner of a Duncan law firm.Mike Kandert (Nanaimo) has more than 30 years of international aviation experience. Alex Stuart (Ladysmith) has a background in technology, environmental management and local government. And David Witty (Chamber of Commerce) is a university provost and vice-president with a background in urban planning.

Blue Navigators make travel friendly, comfortable at Nanaimo Airport

By | Community

Cassidy resident Jim Cirka has spent roughly 56 days at Nanaimo Airport over the last five years.
He’s not a frequent flyer, though. He’s a frequent volunteer, with the Blue Navigators ambassadors at the airport terminal. They all make travel easier for hundreds of thousands of passengers each year.
Jim was one of the original Blue Navigators when the volunteer team formed in 2012. Altogether, the ambassadors have contributed 20,000 hours — including 1,350 hours from Jim alone. That adds up to almost two months of his time.
Today he’s one of 37 volunteers, including eight from the Ladysmith region. The ambassadors are easy to spot in the terminal thanks to their distinctive blue vests.
And they all provide invaluable customer service, creating a comfortable and friendly atmosphere for travellers.
The best part of the work? “Meeting people and helping them,” says Jim, a retiree. “It can be hectic sometimes so we help people by answering their questions and offering assistance.”
Jim puts himself in shoes of passengers when he’s on duty. When departing, they may not be familiar with the security screening procedures or they may be stressed by travel. Arrivals may not know the area. “We’ve all been there,” he says. He tries to provide the help he’d want if he were in similar situations.
He finds volunteering at the airport very rewarding and interesting. “You meet so many different people,” he says.
He recommends the Blue Navigators program to anyone looking for a satisfying volunteer position. Volunteers can select their preferred day and four-hour shift with a commitment of at least one shift per week. Training is provided.
Ideally, volunteers will have customer service experience. A friendly and outgoing personality, and strong listening skills, are also helpful.
For more information, contact Laurie Hawthornthwaite at the Nanaimo Airport at 250-924-2157 ext. 261 or lhawthornthwaite@nanaimoairport.com

With airport support, aviation groups help our region

By | Community

Nanaimo Airport has for decades been the center of Central Vancouver Island aviation. And by supporting the aviators of today and tomorrow, it will continue to lead the sector well into the future.

The airport is home to commercial airlines, private pilots and aviation buffs in the Nanaimo Flying Club, and the Mid-Island Air Search and Rescue volunteers. It also works with the next generation of aviators with area air cadet squadron.

The airport and the flying club were both born in 1942. Today the club has 130 members and serves as the meeting place for members, pilots and area aircraft owners. It hosts monthly fly-ins, drawing planes from around B.C. And it helps pilots keep up on their training. Members don’t have to own a plane; they can use a club-owned Cessna 172.

The flying club also supports the community. It offers an annual scholarship, for example. And it works with the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association’s COPA for Kids Aviation Program. Members take youths aged 8 to 17 on free demonstration flights to provide a motivational aviation experience.

Youth with an interest in flying also benefit from Nanaimo Airport’s support for 205 Collishaw Nanaimo air cadets. The airport host’s the squadron’s annual review as well as provided airspace for some of the island’s cadet glider training.

The cadets — aged 12 to 18 — take part in a variety of activities that helps them grow into the leaders of tomorrow.  They can also earn credits towards their secondary school graduation.

The airport, reflecting its focus on safety, is also home base for Mid Island Air Search and Rescue. The not-for-profit organization uses light aircraft and ground vehicles to serve the public. Volunteers help locate aircraft and missing hikers, boaters and back-country travelers.

Nanaimo Airport’s support for each of the organizations reflects its commitment to serving the communities in its region.

With airport support, aviation groups help our region

By | Community, Safety Updates, Traveller's Stories

Nanaimo Airport has for decades been the centre of Central Vancouver Island aviation. And by supporting the aviators of today and tomorrow, it will continue to lead the sector well into the future.

The airport is home to commercial airlines, private pilots and aviation buffs in the Nanaimo Flying Club, and the Mid-Island Air Search and Rescue volunteers. It also works with the next generation of aviators with area air cadet squadron.

The airport and the flying club were both born in 1942. Today the club has 130 members and serves as the meeting place for members, pilots and area aircraft owners. It hosts monthly fly-ins, drawing planes from around B.C. And it helps pilots keep up on their training. Members don’t have to own a plane; they can use a club-owned Cessna 172.

The flying club also supports the community. It offers an annual scholarship, for example. And it works with the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association’s COPA for Kids Aviation Program. Members take youths aged 8 to 17 on free demonstration flights to provide a motivational aviation experience.

Youth with an interest in flying also benefit from Nanaimo Airport’s support for 205 Collishaw Nanaimo air cadets. The airport host’s the squadron’s annual review as well as provided airspace for some of the island’s cadet glider training.

The cadets — aged 12 to 18 — take part in a variety of activities that helps them grow into the leaders of tomorrow.  They can also earn credits towards their secondary school graduation.

The airport, reflecting its focus on safety, is also home base for Mid Island Air Search and Rescue. The not-for-profit organization uses light aircraft and ground vehicles to serve the public. Volunteers help locate aircraft and missing hikers, boaters and back-country travelers.

Nanaimo Airport’s support for each of the organizations reflects its commitment to serving the communities in its region.

Airport Sponsorships Support Families, Community.

By | Community

What comes to mind when you think of Nanaimo Airport?

Travel is an obvious choice, since the airport is the Central Island’s gateway to the world. But something else is also a big part of its identity: family.

Nanaimo Airport is an important part of the large family of communities that make up this region. It serves the travel needs of the thousands of local families who live and work here. And it’s a big supporter of family-oriented activities that showcase the area’s community spirit.

Every year the Nanaimo Airport Commission partners with volunteer groups on projects that touch many aspects of Central Island life, from health care to youth. The common link in all the work? The benefit to residents and their families.

Here are some examples:

  • Ladysmith Festival of Lights
    In 2015 the airport commission started a five-year sponsorship with Vancouver Island’s premier winter festival for families. As a result, the festival’s showpiece — the Chuck Perrin Memorial Tree — now sparkles with brand new LED lights.
  • Nanaimo & District Foundation Ride for Life 
    The airport commission hosts the annual cycling event that raises money for health care in the region. Proceeds from this year’s May 2017 ride will help purchase a new CT scanner for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Cyclists of all age and abilities participate, many of them as families.
  • North Oyster & Area Historical Society
    The airport commission supports the society’s work on the area’s community centre. For example, the society volunteers run barbecues at airport events in return for a donation. The historic centre hosts a variety of functions vital to local families, including wedding receptions, birthday parties, social gatherings and meetings
  • 205 Collishaw Royal Canadian Air Cadets
    The airport commission hosts the squadron’s annual review as well as its ongoing glider training. The squadron, for youth aged 12 to 18, is popular with families as it fosters citizenship, leadership and physical fitness while promoting interest in the Canadian Forces air branch.

Eco-friendly airport protects environment

By | Community

Environmental stewardship plays a major role in the commission’s business decisions. That’s because protecting the environment is one of Nanaimo Airport Commission’s key corporate values.

Nanaimo Airport isn’t focused solely on the skies. The Central Island’s gateway to the world also devotes its attention to the land and water.

The eco-friendly culture drives a variety of programs protecting water supplies, conserving habitat and recycling materials. It also ensures compliance with government environmental regulations.

And airport staff embrace their mission, even volunteering their time to support it.

As an example, a team from Nanaimo Airport joins the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup , a national program to eliminate shoreline trash. This month the volunteers will again scour the upstream area of Haslam Creek, preventing garbage from entering the fragile aquatic ecosystem.

Airport activities are guided by a pro-active Environmental Management Plan. It monitors and corrects risks before they result in unsafe conditions, accidents or harm to the environment.

The plan covers the airport’s water and land resources, natural habitat, aeronautical noise, energy use, and waste management.

Some of its key directives include:

  • Protect water resources

To learn more about the Cassidy Aquifer, the airport takes samples from eight locations to get data on water flow and quality. The airport also has strict protocols for preventing onsite leaks and spills.

  • Enhance fish habitat

The airport partners with community organizations to enhance fish habitat in the lower reaches of Haslam Creek. Coho, pink and chum salmon live there as well as cutthroat and rainbow trout.

  • Manage bird habitat

The airport helps Canadian Wildlife Services and community groups to conserve the Coastal Vesper sparrow population.  The work balances the need to maintain a safe airfield with the needs of a species that can safely coexist with aviation.

  • Manage vegetation

An ongoing program protects the airport flight path and sets strict environmental guidelines. Its goals? Passenger safety, and the return of native species of vegetation.

Airport business partnerships huge boost for local economy

By | Community

We believe that partnerships with local businesses are the key to serving the hundreds of thousands of people who use Nanaimo Airport?

A variety of Central Vancouver Island firms partner with the Nanaimo Airport Commission to provide passengers with everything from fresh food to transportation. They also serve other businesses that depend on the airport for moving goods on and off of the Island.

And the work they do creates direct and indirect employment that helps support some 1,600 local families. In fact, airport operations generate an estimated $100 million in annual economic activity in the region. That makes Nanaimo Airport one of the Central Island’s main economic drivers.

Most of the businesses at the airport are devoted to passenger services. Some, like Air Canada Jazz, WestJet Encore and Island Express Air, are highly visible. Others work more behind the scenes. United Ramp Incorporated and Canwest, for example, provide ground services to the major airlines.

Other business partners include:

  • G4S, which handles passenger screening
  • Connections Café
  • National, Hertz and Budget car rental agencies
  • AC Taxi and Yellow Cab
  • The Airporter
  • Enex Fuels
  • Nav Canada, which operates the flight services station
  • Canadian Border Services

Numerous contractors for winter maintenance, landscaping, janitorial services and so on. Nanaimo Airport is also home to FedEx, Nanaimo Aircraft Maintenance, and Vital Aviation flight school. The Cottonwood Golf Course is also situated on airport land.

Nanaimo Airport Commission expects to welcome new business partners as part of its much-needed expansion to keep up with record growth in passenger traffic. The plan, and Aviation Gateway land development opportunities, fulfill three critical priorities:

  • regional economic development
  • economic stimulus through infrastructure construction
  • meeting escalating demand for air service through the next decade

Airport helps kids meet world-famous Snowbirds

By | Community

Thanks in part to Nanaimo Airport, some Central Island children living with serious illnesses will get to meet the pilots of the world-famous Canadian Forces Snowbirds .

The 431 Squadron aces serve as ambassadors to the non-profit CH.I.L.D. Foundation, which helps children living with inflammatory bowel diseases.

The pilots will be in Nanaimo on August 10 to perform a free aerial show over our city’s harbour and to raise awareness of the foundation’s work.

As part of the visit, Nanaimo Airport and the Nanaimo Flying Club will host a special private session for local children and their parents who are members of CH.I.L.D. Participants will meet the Snowbird pilots and take pictures with them.

“This is an opportunity for us to give local kids a once-in-a-lifetime memory,” says Nanaimo Airport CEO, Mike Hooper. “We’re proud to support the great work of the CH.I.L.D. Foundation. It makes a difference in the lives of Central Island families.”

The foundation’s mandate is to find a cure for Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis and liver disorders. These illnesses cause excruciating pain, vomiting and chronic fatigue, among other symptoms. Children living with the disorders are often confined to their homes, miss a lot of school, and can’t participate in many activities such as playing sports.

“I can’t wait to see the smiles when the kids and their families get to meet the pilots,” Mike says.

Smiles will also be the order of the day when the Snowbirds perform, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 high above the city. Thousands of Central Island families are expected to pack downtown Nanaimo to watch the aerial stunts that have made the Snowbirds a Canadian icon.

The roars of their jet engines will be heard for miles around, so for the few days the Snowbirds are in the area Nanaimo Airport encourages residents to be prepared for the noise in the skies. On the ground, the cheers of the Snowbirds fans may be almost as loud!