WATCH: Federal government imposes new restrictions on all recreational drone users. New rules means flying drones in Victoria is now illegal. Isabelle Raghem reports.
Kevin Hooper has made a business of flying the skies of Vancouver Island, taking images and videos above lakes and mountains, while he remains on the ground.
“When I’m out there and I’m flying a drone I can see things I’ve never seen before,” says the photographer known as V.I. Photograph on social media.
New federal rules could put a damper on his business.
Transportation Minister Marc Garneau making the announcement in Toronto Thursday morning.
“I’m taking strong measures now before a drone hits an airplane and causes a catastrophic event, that’s the kind of nightmare scenario that keeps me at night as your transport minister.”
The government revealing the following restrictions for recreational drones weighing more than 250-grams:
- Operators can’t fly higher than 90-metres.
- They must stay at least 75-metres away from of buildings, vehicles or people.
- They can’t fly at night or in clouds.
- Can’t fly within 9-kilometres of somewhere aircraft take off or land.
That 9-kilometre radius means the entire capital, reaching to Colwood is off limits.
Penalties include fines of up to $3,000.
“I definitely think they are being extreme with it. I’m just a guy out there putting a drone in the air getting a shot that people haven’t seen before,” says Hooper.
The regulations don’t apply to operators with a commercial license, users like David Carlos certified by Transport Canada.
“These laws that have passed, these new measures are very sobering,” says the operator of Victoria Air Photos, “when you start hearing stories of people getting hit and becoming unconscious, as we have in a cases like in Quebec, they start to make a lot of sense.”
The new rules take effect immediately.