Oceanside Air Lease Cancellation
The Town received information that Oceanside Air was in breach of a number of regulations and conditions of their lease as part of an onsite celebration held at the airport terminal on the evening of November 11, 2021. On November 12, 2021, the Town conducted an internal investigation into the matter, including speaking with one of the owners of Oceanside Air and reviewing CCTV video footage from the terminal. The video footage showed Oceanside Air owners and staff in the airport terminal, over a 90-minute period, unmasked and with open alcohol. Oceanside Air did not have a liquor permit and the video footage clearly displayed open alcohol outside of their leased space, including in restricted areas of the airport, in the public terminal, and in the parking lot.
In addition, Oceanside Air owners and staff were not wearing masks. As part of the Provincial Public Health Order, masks are mandatory in all Town buildings, including airport terminals. The owners and staff of Oceanside Air were in breach of the Public Health Order. The Town issued a formal letter to Oceanside Air on November 16, 2021. On the same day, Council and staff received correspondence from Oceanside Air indicating that the celebration was confined to the leased space only, and consisted of birthday cake and beer. The 90-minute CCTV video footage directly contradicts those statements.
The Town further contacted Oceanside Air about the matter, and they appeared as a delegation in front of Council at their in-camera meeting on November 24, 2021, to explain the circumstances. The information presented by Oceanside Air, as well as in their public statements, conflicted with the information presented from the video footage.
Council took time to review the information provided by Oceanside Air and revisited the matter on December 1, 2021. The Town considered a range of options including preventing Oceanside Air from operating from their hangar altogether. Balancing the severity of the infractions, and the need to report aspects of this incident to Transport Canada, Council decided to terminate Oceanside Air’s lease at the terminal with 90 days’ notice, while allowing the airline to maintain their ability to operate charter flights after the lease in the terminal has terminated on March 3, 2022. 
Town Council did not make this decision lightly. While the Qualicum Beach Airport is smaller than Vancouver, Victoria, or Nanaimo, all airports are federally regulated and Qualicum Beach must operate under the same Transport Canada guidelines. Airports are held to a higher security standard than most public buildings and our airport is intended to ferry passengers securely to and from the Vancouver airport, as well as other surrounding airports.
Promoting a safe environment in our public buildings and our workplaces is a priority for the Town of Qualicum Beach and bylaws and public health orders are in place to ensure safe spaces. Our goal is to maintain the friendly atmosphere of the Qualicum Beach airport terminal and prevent the necessity and cost of having security staff on-site to prevent any future issues.
Arnold Schwabe
Operations Manager