No fly zone: N.S. drone enthusiasts perplexed with new safety measures
Published Saturday, March 18, 2017 11:49AM ADT
The federal government’s new rules for recreational drone users have many scratching their heads.
"We've had too many instances of drones landing near people, landing on cars and they pose a hazard," said Transportation Minister Marc Garneau Thursday.
The announcement grounds recreational drones from being flown in many areas across Canada. The rules prohibit flying drones higher than 90 metres, within 75 metres of buildings or people, or within nine kilometres of an airport.
Video blogger Dave Culligan says the rules simply don’t make sense.
“There are people who have flown them near airports and stuff like that and that's a legitimate safety concern, but to say you can't be within 75 metres of an animal and some of those extra bits, I just don't understand," Culligan said.
Prior to the announcement, many of the rules existed only as guidelines with no punishment for breaking them. Now those in violation could face fines of up to $3,000.
Flitelab partner Mark Langille says while the new rules may seem a little harsh, they were a long time coming.
"Halifax/Dartmouth is really off limits now because of Shearwater and all the hospitals with helipads, it covers such a large area," said Langille. "People were flying over concerts, over the waterfront, doing anything they wanted to, which was a bit unsafe,"
Ashley Gallant of the Halifax Stanfield International Airport says there are many potential dangers when it comes to having drones near airports.
“The people who work here and our passengers is our first priority and that's why we are fully supporting these new transport safety measures that we believe will help keep our airport safe,"
Culligan, whose scenic drone footage of Nova Scotia has been viewed online hundreds of thousands of times, says the rules are already having an impact on drone users.
"I know a lot of people who just bought them recently. There are people who bought them last week. They spent $2,000 and now it's just a paperweight," said Culligan.
The new rules of the sky come into effect right away.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Allan April.