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Anmore more seeks ‘aggressive’ action against pilot who choppered into massive party

Fearing a repeat event, Mayor John McEwen wants more details about punishment for pilots who landed helicopters at house party in the village last year
A helicopter lands at a party in Anmore on June, 1, 2019. Photograph By INSTAGRAM

A raucous party that drew a huge crowd to an Anmore home last summer continues to worry Anmore’s mayor, who fears lack of sanctions against pilots who landed a helicopter close to party-goers could encourage similar behaviour in the future.

John McEwen told The Tri-City News he is not satisfied with the conclusion of a Transport Canada investigation into the event June 1, 2019 because he doesn’t know what the punishment was, if there were any fines or other enforcement.

“At the very least they should have suspended their licences during the investigation,” McEwen said.

He would like more information and has invited Transport Canada investigators to speak to the village council but the federal authority hasn’t taken him up on his request.

However, according to Transport Canada, the matter is concluded.

In an email to the Tri-City News, the agency reported that two separate investigations were conducted and completed and both resulted in ”appropriate actions” being taken.

As well, the agency stated that the information has already been passed on to Anmore’s Chief Administrative Officer.

Under Canadian Aviation Regulations, helicopters landing in built-up areas must normally land at an airport, heliport or a military aerodrome that meets the appropriate aviation standards.

They are a capable of landing outside those areas but require permission from the land owner.

It’s not known if the pilots or company obtained permission, but McEwen believes the party was held after the lease had expired.

He would like more specific details and public scrutiny because without enforcement, he fears, nothing would stop another similar event, with helicopters or other stunts.

“I don’t know why Transport Canada isn’t being more aggressive about this…We need those answers to make sure they don’t happen again.”

The party’s host subsequently contacted the mayor and offered an apology, McEwen said, but the apology should have been directed to volunteer firefighters who who arrived at the scene to administer naloxone to one of the partygoers who had overdosed. 

“The guy who ran the party who got all the publicity I ever wanted, I wouldn’t want his name to be used because any publicity is what he is looking for.”

In these COVID-19 times, it’s even more important for large groups not to gather, McEwen said, and so far he’s seen no evidence of large parties at homes in Anmore.

Even graduation events were quiet this year. 

“I think our community is being very respectful,” McEwen said.

However, he supports $2,000 fines for people who flout Dr. Bonnie Henry’s gathering rules.

Read more from the Tri-City News

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