Victoria International Airport’s new air traffic control tower begins construction

Victoria International Airport's new air traffic control tower begins construction
CHEK
The current YYJ control tower is pictured on May 14, 2024

Victoria International Airport is getting a new air traffic control tower by 2027.

NAV CANADA and the Victoria Airport Authority put shovel to the ground on Tuesday to start construction of the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified air control tower in the country.

“This project is not only about building a new [tower], but about planning for a greener and more sustainable future for aviation in Canada,” said Raymond Bohn, president and chief executive officer of NAV CANADA.  “It’s about taking another step towards reaching NAV CANADA’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.”

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The design of the new control tower, which will be located near the Airside Operations Centre, is a collaboration between NAV CANADA and the Victoria Airport Authority.

Airport authorities say the construction of the new tower has got nothing to do with a portion of the airfield being obstructed by a blind spot; it’s more about how old the building is and the need to upgrade the systems in the tower.

Elizabeth Brown, president and CEO of the Victoria Airport Authority, told CHEK, “The technology in the aviation system is always evolving, always improving to ensure that the safety is at its maximum when we’re looking at passenger safety in commercial aircraft.”

The tower is going to be 27.2 meters (89 feet) high and will provide for greater line of sight. It will also include new facilities for the staff, including a gym, dining facility, and an office space far beyond what they currently have at the old tower.

“The building’s been around for a while now, some of the amenities that will be available for the staff in the new building – they’re definitely looking forward to that,” said Christopher Csatlos, site manager of the Victoria Control Tower with NAV CANADA.

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The new air traffic control tower at the Victoria International Airport will be ready by 2027. NAV CANADA

Sustainability will be top of mind in building the new control tower.

“We commit to harnessing green power from BC Hydro to operate with zero-gas emissions,” said Bohn.

The focus on sustainability doesn’t end with the building itself.

NAV CANADA is taking things a step further by incorporating native plants, like bushes, natural grasses, and wildflowers to restore a Garry Oak meadow in the tower’s landscaping, which is one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada.

Non-fruit bearing plants will be selected in the landscaping project to minimize the attraction of birds for aviation safety reasons.

Furthermore, the control tower property will also feature permeable pavers in the parking area. Installing these will allow water to soak through them and will minimize ground water run-off and reduce the risk of flooding.

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