Transport Canada confirms no-fly zones for drones on Gabriola

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, July 25 2017

The no-fly zones for drones around Silva Bay and the Gabriola Community Clinic on Church Street remain, despite recent loosening of regulations from Transport Canada on recreational drone usage.

Marie-Anyk Côté, Senior Media Relations Advisor with Transport Canada (TC), said, “Transport Canada regulates the use of drones to keep the public and other airspace users safe.”

Aerodromes are defined by TC to include airports, heliports and seaplane bases or anywhere aircraft take off and land.

Under the current regulations, if a person is operating a drone for recreational purposes, it is illegal to fly closer than:

5.5 km from aerodromes, and

1.8 km from heliports or aerodromes used by helicopters only.

Côté confirmed that only persons with a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) may operate a drone within 5.5 km of the Silva Bay seaplane base, and 1.8 km from the helipad at the clinic.

The 1.8 km circle includes the entire Gabriola Elementary School property, most of the proposed Potlatch Density Transfer property and the northern portion of the Commons.

A 5.5 km area around the Silva Bay seaplane base would include everything east of (and including) the Elder Cedar Grove, the new phase of The Legends, and Stokes Road. According to TC, those caught flying within those no-fly areas without the SFOC could face fines of up to $3,000.

Flying a drone outside those no-fly zones for non-recreational purposes also requires an SFOC. According to Transport Canada, if a person is flying a drone for anything other than for fun, they are considered to be flying for work or research.

Examples of the type of work that may be conducted once a person has an SFOC include, but are not limited to, survey; agricultural; inspections; academic research; first responders; and aerial photography and videography (including for real estate).

Applying for an SFOC is free and can be done through the Transport Canada website tc.gc.ca under the Civil Aviation section.

A full list of current drone regulations can also be found on the Transport Canada website under Civil Aviation.