Update on Skydive Cayuga

Many County residents have raised issues concerning Skydive Cayuga, Inc. It is apparent that the operation of this business is upsetting and intrusive on many levels. This has led the County to consider possible avenues to regulate the operation of the business to address the issues raised by residents.

Council is aware that one hurdle to regulating Skydive’s operations relates to the fact that its business involves aviation, which falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government, not the municipal government. This means that municipal regulations, such as those relating to land use, nuisance, noise, building permit processes which intrude on those federal powers, do not apply in this situation.

What this means in practice is that, to the extent that Skydive’s operations are related to the core of aviation, there are jurisdictional limitations for the County to regulate those operations.

Recognizing the above, Haldimand County has asked its lawyers to determine possible avenues which would allow the County to exert some regulatory control over Skydive’s operations. Each of these involve complex and novel legal issues.

In furtherance of that request, the County’s lawyers have filed a complaint with Transport Canada, the federal agency responsible for aviation. Transport Canada’s responsibilities include issuing certificates (essentially licenses) to permit certificate holders to engage in aviation-related activities.

The complaint asserts that, while Skydive does have a federal certificate to operate, it appears that it does not have the correct certificate that would allow it to operate in its current location. The complaint also asserts the correct certificate is one that would require some level of municipal input and approval.

The complaint also deals with the construction of the new hangar by Skydive, and asserts that such construction should have been subject to a prior public consultation process.

The complaint also raises the matter of the discharge of firearms on the Skydive property. This is not an aviation issue, and may not fall within the purview of Transport Canada. It has been raised, however, as a public safety issue by questioning the appropriateness of permitting the discharge of firearms on a property used for aviation purposes.

Haldimand County is awaiting a response from Transport Canada, but understand that the response may take longer than normal due to the COVID-19 situation.

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