October 22, 2007
RICHMOND – Transport Canada and Richmond Council must step to the plate to ensure residents are as protected as possible from small aircraft flights over our city, Richmond City Councillors Bill McNulty and Derek Dang said today.
“Friday’s tragedy reminds us all of the dangers we face in Richmond given our proximity to the airport,” said Councillor McNulty. “Regardless of the circumstances surrounding that fatal flight, it brings again to light the need for action to be taken by Transport Canada to ensure small aircraft are as low a threat to Richmond residents as they can be.”
On Friday afternoon a Piper Seneca aircraft crashed in to the ninth floor of the Rosario Gardens high-rise condominium complex on Saba Road in Richmond, killing the 82-year old pilot and injuring two others in the building. Residents have been evacuated from the building until structural tests can be completed, and the circumstances surrounding the crash remain under investigation.
“While people often think of airplane flight paths as a noise issue, Bill and I have always primarily thought of it as a safety issue” said Councillor Dang. “Whether flight path is an issue in this incident or not, it’s time for Transport Canada to step up, listen to our long standing concerns, and require all small aircraft stick to a much more refined airspace.”
When the reoccurring issue of aircraft flight paths was recently discussed among Council before this tragedy, Councillor Bill McNulty spoke vigorously in favour of appointing a citizens committee to oversee the issue. The committee would assist authorities in finding the best possible flight paths and recommend solutions that could work for all parties involved.
“We are calling on Council to immediately reconsider their opposition to this proposal,” said McNulty. “We need Transport Canada to hear from our residents to ensure we mitigate the risks posed by air traffic as much as possible.”
While the investigation is underway, displaced residents will receive six nights of emergency accommodation at local hotels courtesy the Provincial government.