Trail Regional airport: City works through audit

The City of Trail and its new airport manager are working diligently at developing a corrective action plan.

The City of Trail and its new airport manager are working diligently at developing a corrective action plan in response to findings just released from a Transport Canada audit.

The audit, better known as a Process Validation Inspection (PVI), found that the Trail Regional Airport is not in compliance in three “moderate” cases and one “major” finding. Among these, the report concludes the need of renewing an expired offset approach surface agreement; that a recent runway construction project was not done to compliance and that training and daily practices and procedures were not being recorded.

“It really does take somebody on site everyday to know the nuances of the airport, to know what training requirements are and to document those and ensure that everybody has the proper tools to do their jobs,” said new airport manager Don Goulard.

He doesn’t want to take away from the volunteers who’ve kept the airport running smoothly but he expects that in future he can make sure staff is filling out required paperwork that validates what has been agreed upon in the airport’s operations manual.

The City of Trail plans on compiling all of the costs associated with remedial action and claim these expenses directly to the landing strip’s previous owner, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, it was decided at the city’s last Governance and Operations Committee meeting.

“Many of the items raised are issues that the city would have expected the regional district to have addressed as part of their ownership and operation of the airport,” said city administrator David Perehudoff in a report to council. “The city will now have to spend considerable time and resource dealing with the concerns that are raised.”

The PVI was done on Jan. 28 and 29, when Transport Canada determined the effectiveness of Trail Airport policies, processes and procedures with respect to quality assurance, airport operator’s obligations, document and records management and training.

Goulard attributes most of the discrepancies found to the airport’s lack of leadership and organization when it comes to staying up on retraining or simply recording daily findings that could easily be shrugged off, such as spotting deer on the facility’s grounds.

But this isn’t to say he’s not taking this process very seriously. The former Calgary resident with 15 years or experience in aviation just started the job and is tied to his desk right now to ensure a corrective action plan is created in a timely matter. These resolutions will be forthcoming, he said, once Transport Canada approves the plan.

“It’s a beautiful little airport but it’s an airport nonetheless,” said Goulard. “It needs to be treated as the professional environment that it really is and it needs to adhere to regulations just like every other airport in the country.”

He’s pleased to be part of an airport that is just taking off in terms of its potential.

“I couldn’t ask for a better time to get in,” he said. “To really get in on the ground floor and help to create something amazing, that’s really exciting.”