Transport Canada says a man’s plan for a grass airstrip on his rural west Ottawa yard can go ahead after some area residents said they had safety concerns about the project. The department confirmed late last week, after reviewing the Dunrobin man’s record of consultation, his efforts satisfied federal requirements as of Sept. 29 and “the proponent may proceed with the outlined proposed aerodrome work.”
Proponent Les Nagy has described himself as a recreational pilot since 2003 who wants to operate a general aviation plane from his own private registered airfield — “much like other fellow pilots in the surrounding area,” he told Transport Canada in a report summarizing his consultation process.
The airstrip is intended for very low monthly use, he informed residents in correspondence obtained by CBC. Some residents have voiced concerns about the size of Nagy’s property, which they consider too small for an airstrip, and what would happen if he couldn’t land on his property.
They have also called Nagy’s consultation inadequate and labelled Transport Canada’s system of oversight too permissive.
“He has no room for error,” Gary Ganim, who lives down the road, said of Nagy. He added he’s worried about potential damage to his property and to power lines.
Patricia Gale, who lives across the road from Nagy, said via email it’s “extremely disappointing” Transport Canada can’t see “the magnitude of the safety issue in this particular proposal on such a small parcel of land in close proximity to other residential properties.”
When reached by phone, Nagy declined an interview but said “this has been long over since September.”
Neighbour supports plan
Area resident Ken Scharf said he supports Nagy’s plan and concerns are “110 per cent” overblown. He said aircraft already fly in the area.
“Just because somebody wants something, they all gotta jump on a bandwagon and wave their little hats,” Scharf said.
Scharf, who works in construction, said Nagy has asked him to smooth out his field but he has not done any actual work. CBC obtained a version of Nagy’s consultation summary report, which cites 29 responses during the first phase of his consultation. Seven of those contained concerns or objections.
“In five cases this effort did not mitigate the concern or objection and the individual still objected to the proposal,” according to the report.
Nagy had originally hoped to have the airstrip finished by the end of this past summer, but he now expects it to be ready by the end of summer 2024, according to the report. Gary Kozak, another neighbour and opponent of Nagy’s plan, told Transport Canada late last week he and others who oppose the project are planning to appeal to Minister of Transport Pablo Rodriguez. Kozak declined to be interviewed.
Under the Aeronautics Act, the minister can “prohibit” a development if it’s found the project “is likely to adversely affect aviation safety or is not in the public interest.”
“We’re not going to roll over and take this,” Ganim said.
Source: CBC News