Concerns over turbines in and around the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport raised recently by the president of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association have been dismissed by the municipality’s consultant.
James Lindsey, an aviation consultant with Genivar Aviation, has written to Kevin Psutka, president and CEO of the COPA, saying it’s unfortunate he didn’t contact the municipality or the consultant prior to distributing his letter as it would have provided an opportunity to clarify some of his errors and inaccurate statements.
A copy of Lindsey’s letter was obtained Thursday by The Daily News.
Lindsey said none of the turbines proposed as part of the South Kent project fall within the airport zone regulations.
“Furthermore, no turbines fall within the existing non-instrument or future instrument non-precision obstacle limitation surfaces for the airport,” he said. “Therefore, any statements regarding airport certification of the airport zoning regulations are inaccurate, false and without merit.”
In his December letter to Mayor Randy Hope, Psutka, speaking on behalf of tens of thousands of pilots, he asked the mayor to not permit certain turbines to be erected until it is known for certain from Transport Canada and Nav Canada that assumptions made by the consultant will in fact be approved.
“Alternatively, if you do not wish to amend the aggressive construction schedule, you should demand that the wind farm developer relocate any turbines that result in additional restrictions to the instrument approaches and other procedures at the airport as determined by Transport Canada and Nav Canada,” said Psutka.
In his response, Lindsey said his firm was retained to study and provide a report on the impact of the South Kent Wind project and not retained to review the current project being constructed south of the airport by International Power “which I believe is referenced in Psutka’s letter.”
Lindsey said the airport contribution will increase airport safety and airport usability by extending runway 06-24 by 500 feet and increase safety through the installation of various navigational aids.
He said increased airport usability will be achieved through the design, construction and commissioning of new instrument approach procedures, revised airport certification operational classification and a new automated weather observation system.
Lindsey said constituents and pilot stakeholder groups should be proud of the hard work and dedication the mayor and council have committed to obtain a $2.5 million commitment for the airport without assistance or support of the senior governments.
Lindsey said the airport contribution will result in immediate and substantial improvements to the safety and usability of the airport and should be recognized as the new standard of airport/turbine consultations and mitigation.
“As an aviation consultancy with a dedicated team of professional planners, engineers and consultants, many of whom are pilots, Genivar Aviation is committed to ensure that the airport contribution is executed in accordance with the airport study.” he said.
In his letter to Hope, Psutka asked that he consider very carefully the decision to accept the consultant’s report at face value.
“While physical improvements to the airport are welcome, they most likely will come at a price, in terms of safety and render the airport less usable in the event that the assumptions made by the consultants are not acceptable to the certification authorities,” he said.
Psutka urged the mayor not to accept the plan until it is known for certain that the mitigation measures are acceptable to everyone involved.
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