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New LEED-certified control tower being constructed at Victoria airport

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The shovels have hit the ground on the construction of a new LEED-certified navigation tower at Victoria International Airport.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an international certification of excellence in environmental sustainability and green building design, according to the Canada Green Building Council.

“The original tower was built in 1950, significant renovations in 1987 so it’s time to modernize,” said Ray Bohn, president and CEO of Nav Canada.

Nav Canada will be footing the bill, and won't disclose the cost.

The Victoria Airport Authority will be providing the land, located on the opposite side of the airport grounds from where the current tower sits.

“It will give the tower and the air traffic controllers a view of the entire airfield as well as the Patricia Bay floatplane base,”said Elizabeth Brown, president and CEO of the Victoria Airport Authority.

As YYJ has developed over the years, a few buildings have popped-up impeding the current towers' view of the entire airfield. Video cameras are being used as a work around. The new location will fix that issue.

The new tower will be the first of its kind in Canada, built to LEED-certified standards.

“It’s going to use green power that is going to be supported by BC Hydro in its entirety,” said Bohn.

Nav Canada has a goal of being net-zero by 2050.

From design through to its operation, the tower will be built in a way that uses very little greenhouse emissions while implementing the industry's latest technologies.

“We have about 1.8 million passengers that are using this airport right now and we expect to be sitting at about two million passengers by the end of 2025,” said Brown.

That would make YYJ the 11th-busiest airport in the country.

“We have a very complex airspace here,” said Brown. “We (have) float planes, emergency aircraft that are flying for medivacs, we have the military, we have regular commercial aircraft and we have training pilots.”

Adding to the complexity is YYJ's close proximity to Vancouver International Airport.

The new tower will be a much-needed addition to an airport that is experiencing growth while working hard to reduce its carbon footprint.

“This has nothing to do with any potential runway expansion,” said Brown.

That expansion has been identified in the Airport Authorities master plan. Brown says there are no current plans for that expansion to happen.

The new tower is expected to be completed in 2027. 

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