This new construction fence cuts off a trail on the flats south of the Revelstoke Airport that is used by people to access the area beyond the airport.

Concerns expressed over new airport weather station

Area B director Loni Parker says she regrets not informing residents about a construction project to build a new weather station that is now underway on the Columbia Flats.

Station will cut off trail in area

Concerns are being raised about the placement of a new weather station being installed at the Revelstoke airport that blocks two trails in the area.

“I have no problem with that [the weather station] but they’re putting it right across the trail and it will block the trails off,” said resident Jane McNab, one of the users of the trail.

The trail in question starts off Airport Way just south of the airport and travels roughly parallel to the runway. The new weather station, which is being built by NAVCanada, is located at a place where the trail forks in two. McNab said the trail is used by walkers, bird watchers and cyclists.

However, Loni Parker, the director for rural Revelstoke, said that people are free to walk around the station. “It’s an airport, it’s not a park area and it’s not a trail area,” she said. “We actually have done our best to maintain access through there.”

The location of the weather station has been marked off with a black fence, though Parker said the actual station will be smaller than the fenced area. The fence was erected to keep painted turtles out of the construction area, she said.

She said 100 truck loads of gravel will be trucked in to raise the ground level of the weather station to the height of the airport. Currently, when the river level is high, the area in question can be flooded.

Parker said the weather station was placed where it was so it didn’t impact bird nesting areas.

“The spot where they preferred to go wouldn’t have blocked the walking path but that spot was not acceptable to the Ministry of the Environment because its of really high value for small nesting birds,” she said. “Every effort is going to be taken into consideration to mitigate for any environmental impacts.”

Parker said there was no requirement to consult with trail users but she regretted not properly informing people about the work going on there.

“The mistake we made is we didn’t go out with a press release telling people there was work that was going to be done,” she said “If we’d done that, people might not have been so upset and they would have realized this is the work that was going to be done and it’s not going to impact as negatively as they believe.”

Construction of the weather station is expected to be completed in June.