A float plane taxis on Schwatka Lake in October 2017. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

City considers asking YG to run Schwatka float plane base

The possibility of the Yukon government taking over the Schwatka Lake aerodrome is an idea unlikely to take off anytime soon

The idea came up at the July 29 Whitehorse city council meeting, but officials with the territory’s Department of Highways and Public Works says the department has not looked into the idea and there’s no intention to do so right now.

Department spokesperson Oshea Jephson said Highways and Public Works “hasn’t undertaken any of the extensive policy, regulatory and financial research needed to take over the Schwatka Lake float plane base” as it had no intention of taking it over.

Jephson later clarified the department didn’t have any intention of taking over the base “at this time,” but would not say whether officials would be willing to meet with the city if requested to discuss the matter.

Coun. Samson Hartland raised the issue at the most recent council meeting.

He said Transport Canada has announced its intention to certify all water aerodromes.

The city currently operates the road along the lake and the docks used by float plane operators at Schwatka Lake.

The change by Transport Canada would move the aerodrome operation beyond what’s typically under the city’s jurisdiction, Hartland suggested.

“Yukon government has the resources and the expertise to deal with aviation and flight paths,” he said. “Yukon government could still follow the city’s Schwatka Lake area plan as it covers the needs of all users at the lake.”

Darryl Laliberte, vice-president of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) Yukon, said local pilots support the move for the territory to oversee the aerodrome.

The site has a significant economic impact throughout the Yukon “for outfitter operations, tourism operations, even some private businesses — they use their airplanes to go to work sites,” he said.

Laliberte also said the potential changes to Transport Canada regulations would essentially turn water aerodromes like Schwatka Lake to airports and the impact of that on city operations may not be fully realized.

Hartland initially proposed the city meet with Yukon government officials to discuss the possibility. Other council members asked first for a report by city staff.

Coun. Dan Boyd said the city controls the dock space and oversees road maintenance, but it’s been his understanding the aerodrome itself is not a managed area.

“It’s worth doing some homework,” he said, adding that a meeting with territorial government officials following that may well be in order.

Mayor Dan Curtis agreed.

The territory has a flight plan study underway and management of the Schwatka Lake aerodrome that “would be worth looking into,” he said.

For now, city staff have been tasked with coming back to council with a report on the status of the aerodrome and its future.

Acting city manager Valerie Braga said a report will be prepared and presented at a future council meeting. No set date was given.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Alaska float planeYukon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Whitehorse RCMP will provide internet safety training due to an uptick of child luring offences. (iStock photo)
RCMP hosting internet safety webinars for parents and caregivers

The webinars will take place on March 23 and 25

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

Most Read