City discusses military request for “No Drone Signs”
4 Wing Cold Lake is requesting added protection from the City of Cold Lake and has requested “No Drone” signs be placed at the entrances of the city. The signs, if approved, would be placed at the front and back gates to the base, and in the viewing area on base. Azum Khan, General Manager of Infrastructure Services for the City of Cold Lake explained that Transport Canada regulates the signs, but the regulations surrounding them are in a state of flux.
“The drone pilot is responsible for knowing the regulations,” stated Khan. (Right now, there are three regulatory regimes for users of unmanned air vehicles or drones.) Although there can be serious consequences and fines of up to $25,000 for flying in a no drone area, the no drone signs are not regulated or mandatory. They are advisory only.
Cold Lake has a control zone of 11 miles. Kevin Nagoya, Chief Administration Officer for the City of Cold Lake explained that although the City of Cold Lake will not be monitoring, paying for, or putting up the signs. Awareness of drones is important, but he is concerned the signs may lead to confusion and misinformation.
For example, if there is no drones sign in a park or on the beach, will people think they can fly their drones there? And depending on the weight class, the rules change for recreational and non-recreational drones. “We need more guidance from Transport Canada to implement this legislation. We can provide Council with more feedback about this issue in the fall,” stated Nagoya.
Councillor Bob Buckle was hesitant about declining the request, but wasn’t able to get completely behind it either, until he knows a little more about the issue. “I don’t want to dismiss this out-of-hand,” explained Buckle. He added, “But I have no problem yielding to their judgment”. Councillor Chris Vining had no issues with the signs if there was contact information on the signs.
Council made a motion to refer the issue to the next Corporate Priorities meeting in September.