Environmental Sustainability

Our environmental responsibilities are major factors in all of our business decisions.

We are proud to have designed and implemented unparalleled programs and policies to protect the airport ecosystem. Our programs are in addition to our compliance with all federal environmental laws and regulations.

Our eco-friendly practices include everything from conserving habitat, to recycling materials, to reducing water usage. By devoting resources and training our staff, we have created an environmentally-aware culture.

Here are some of the ways in which we help to preserve our environment:

Commitment to Net Zero by 2030

Small bird perched on a wire with a blurred out background

YCD continues to be a regional champion and leader for climate change action. The environment plays a leading role in the airport’s new five-year Strategic Plan. Our goals include a commitment to minimize environmental impacts and achieve Net Zero by 2030.

We’ve already achieved carbon neutrality for our operations thanks to carbon reduction initiatives and the purchase of carbon offsets. Implementing our Climate Change Action Plan will help meet the Net Zero goal by reducing emissions.

The airport’s commitment embraces four specific actions:

  • Ensure all new airside and landside buildings and infrastructure systems meet high standards for sustainability performance and resilience
  • Implement the Climate Change Action Plan and achieve Net Zero by 2030
  • Be a regional champion on climate change action through leading by example and working with business partners and community stakeholders to reduce emissions
  • Refine and continuously improve YCD’s comprehensive Environmental Management System

In 2022 we joined a select group of Canadian airports in the use of Airport Council International’s carbon emissions reporting tool (ACERT). We are proud to announce January 2024, we achieved the Airport Council International’s (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 2 Certification (Reduction).

A Pro-Active Environmental Management Plan

Water drop balanced on a blade of grass

Using a “Plan, Do, Check, and Act” model, our Environmental Management Plan (EMP) sets priorities and direction for improving our environmental performance.

It covers all of our water and land resources, natural habitat, aeronautical noise, energy and climate change, and waste management. The plan controls and documents airport activities through an integrated environmental management system. This ensures that we are pro-actively protecting the environment.

Guided by our EMP, we monitor and correct risks before they result in unsafe conditions, accidents or harm to the environment.

Supporting Electric Vehicles

two electric vehicle chargers with the electric vehicle logo painted on the pavement

Our electronic vehicle charging stations prevented 57,888 kg of greenhouse gas emissions in their first year. That’s equal to planting 1,484 trees and letting them grow for 10 years.

We’re also investing in zero-emission vehicles. We’ll continue to convert to suitable options as manufacturers make them available.

Monitoring and protecting water resources

Lily Pads floating on top of water

We conduct ongoing sampling from eight monitoring locations as part of our duty to protect the Cassidy Aquifer, which lies under the airport. The data helps us detect potential changes in water quality, and to address them quickly.

We also regularly review our wastewater drainfield. It continues to operate without causing undue environmental impact.

To further protect surface and groundwater resources, we have management strategies for preventing leaks and spills of harmful substances, and for controlling airport drainage and water consumption.

Enhancing Fish and Avian Habitat

Two Salmon swimming above rocks in the bottom of a body of water

We have partnered with community organizations to enhance fish habitat in the lower reaches of Haslam Creek.

We also actively assisted the conservation of the habitat and population of the Coastal Vesper Sparrows, ever since the birds were first spotted years ago on the airport site.

Our involvement is part of our work to balance the maintenance of a safe airfield with the management of the land as a habitat for species that can safely coexist with aircraft.

Carefully managing vegetation

Cattails blowing in the wind on a cloudy day

To sustain a safe and reliable airport it is necessary to manage vegetation height. Successful vegetation management uses a systematic approach. In most cases this will require the topping of trees on an ongoing rotation.

The program protects our flight path to enhance safety and sets strict guidelines to ensure the sustainability of our environment.

Partnership with Pollinators Canada

Polinator garden sign in the middle of the garden surrounded by green plants

We were one of the first airports to work with the registered charity Pollinator Partnership Canada to support pollinating bees and native biodiversity. The first year of the project was very successful.

Pollinator Partnership Canada worked with Satinflower Nurseries and with Nanaimo Airport Commission to create a pollinator garden near the main entrance of the Air Terminal Building. We removed non-native vegetation and replaced them with local and native species. This helps ensure continued carbon removal while eliminating a threat to the local eco-system.