Discussions continue on airport land-use issues

NANAIMO - Airport and Regional District of Nanaimo discuss finalize memorandum of understanding regarding land use.

The Regional District of Nanaimo and Nanaimo Airport are in discussions to create a memorandum of understanding on land-use issues.

The memorandum is part of the second phase of the airport’s land-use process that began last year. The first phase, which included public consultation and a report, was completed this summer. In October the RDN board of directors carried a motion to proceed on the memorandum of understanding discussions.

Mike Hooper, president and CEO of the Nanaimo Airport, said the airport created a draft of memorandum with the Regional District of Nanaimo several years ago and the current process is just to ensure all aspects are incorporated.

“It’s been an ongoing conversation for a number of years,” he said, adding the airport has also been in discussions with three regional districts including the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

“We’ve been involved in the public process for the last 25 years on the airport uses. We created a master plan in 2004 and involved the public,” said Hooper. “We want to make sure we meet the needs of the community.”

Laurie Gourlay, president of the Mid-Island Sustainability and Stewardship Initiative, said the opportunity for the public to participate in the first phase during consultation for the report was minimal.

“The consultant promised to have a meeting with MISSI and didn’t and the public consultation was done during the elections so opportunities to participate were minimal,” he said.

During the first phase, the public raised concerns about the impact of development on the aquifers in the area, which include the Yellow Point and Cassidy aquifers.

Gourlay said there is concern that oil and other pollutants could make their way to the aquifer, which connects to the Nanaimo River.

The consultant’s report also indicated that there was “significant concern” around the lack of certainty about the future development on airport land. Gourlay said the public is concerned about the potential to build other industry or commercial structures on the property that aren’t related to airport operations if zoning bylaws are changed.

“The airport previously talked about commercial development … they are not talking to us about what their plans are and you don’t know what might be in the works,” said Gourlay. “There is a need for local citizens to look into the matter and provide their own independent review.”

Hooper said the airport goes beyond regulation to ensure environmental concerns are addressed, which includes bringing in the appropriate specialists to assess environmental impacts.

Paul Thompson, RDN manager of long range planning, said there’s no timeline as to when the discussion and memorandum draft will be completed. When the memorandum is complete, the RDN would hold a public review. If the two parties sign the agreement it may require the district to make changes to the electoral area A Official Community Plan, which includes Cassidy, Cedar, Yellow Point and South Wellington, and an amendment to the zoning bylaw.

Thompson said there will be opportunities for the public to comment on the process during every phase.

“The intention is to have as much public input as we can,” he said.

Just Posted

Woodgrove Centre has a temporary COVID-19 vaccination clinic operated by Island Health. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 vaccine clinic set up at Woodgrove Centre

Anyone 12 and up can receive a first dose of mRNA vaccine seven days a week

Six United Way chapters around the province are merging into United Way B.C. (News Bulletin file photo)
Central Island’s United Way merging with other chapters to create United Way B.C.

Money raised in communities will stay in those communities, agency says

Young people graduating in COVID-19 times have shown resilience. (Stock photo)
Editorial: Class of 2021 has shown smarts and resilience

Congratulations and good luck to Grade 12s who have persevered during the pandemic

The Nanaimo Business Awards are accepting nominations now. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce image)
Nanaimo Business Awards accepting nominations of worthy winners

This year’s awards aren’t until the fall, but the nomination period ends June 28

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

Most Read