Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Airport damage blamed on fence

Pangnirtung airport is in dire need of a new fence, said Ron Mongeau, the hamlet's senior administrative officer, following two incidents in which aircraft were damaged.

A small plane was broken into on July 9 and a variety of equipment, including a GPS and safety flares, were stolen.

Mongeau said he's been asking for a new fence for a long time.

"We have been pointing this out to the government of Nunavut for years," he said. "It's one of many problems with the airport, the others being its location in the middle of town and the issues with landing because of wind conditions. There is totally inadequate fencing that is falling down and falling apart and I've indicated on many occasions, in writing, that we need a new fence."

Mongeau said the fence has numerous areas where people can get in and the hamlet doesn't have the proper funds to build a new, expensive fence. He estimates the cost at approximately $250,000.

"We need support from the government on this," he said. "We're looking at a fairly expensive proposition here and we need them to pitch in."

The hamlet is also considering security cameras, Mongeau added. Although cameras could allow them to catch culprits, it may not deter them from breaking in.

People aren't the only concern. Dogs have also been known to go through the fence as they please. It happened a month ago when a dog wandered onto the runway 20 minutes before an aircraft was scheduled to land.

"This goes beyond vandalism," Mongeau said.

"We can talk about this issue until we're blue in the face. We need an air strip where we can keep people and animals out of, and a fence that is secure, that will do the job it is designed to do."

On June 28, a 35-year-old man who was believed to have been intoxicated was charged with several offences after more than $5,000 worth of damage was done to a helicopter's window at the Pangnirtung Airport. The aircraft, which was set to bring scientists to Auyuittuq National Park, was out of service for several days.

Source:  http://nnsl.com

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