By Adam Hunt
COPA Flight 8 doesn’t meet over the summertime, so we started off the fall season with our September meeting and a presentation about a new residential fly in community that is being developed just northwest of Ottawa in western Quebec.
The project is the brain child of André Durocher, who has combined his passion for flying with his current profession of land surveyor. Durocher was first awed by flying and airplanes when he was three years old. Since then he worked a number of years as a bush pilot and operated an aerial sightseeing business, as well.
Today he owns four aircraft; a de Havilland Canada Super Beaver, a Citabria, a Questair Venture and a V-8 powered Seabee.
After visiting Spruce Creek in Florida he looked around for a similar fly-in community to base his aircraft at and not finding any in the area, he decided he would have to start one himself. He settled on a 175 acre plot of land on the north side of the Ottawa River in the Municipality of Pontiac, Quebec. His development includes 3,400 feet of river front land and is only a short drive from Ottawa, so it seems an ideal spot for recreational homes, plus runways and a float plane base.
Durocher has taken the project of subdividing and developing the property himself. In 2007 he started building the two runways and today they are 2,000 feet and 3,400 feet in length, with compacted gravel surfaces.
The seaplane base was accepted as a registered aerodrome first and was entered in the Water Aerodrome Supplement in 2009. The land aerodrome was registered and in the Canada Flight Supplement in January 2011. The longer runway is slated for paving, so that Durocher can move his Questaire Venture there.
The airpark consists of 60 residential lots of one to two acres each. All are at least 150 feet wide and most are treed. The site is served by a municipal road and has electric power. These rural lots will each have their own well and septic system.
Durocher also plans to build a clubhouse and recreation centre, including tennis courts. The clubhouse will include a gym, pool table and a bathroom with showers. He said, that to make the place attractive to non-flying spouses the facility will not look like an airport, but more like a country estate. There are horse-boarding stables in the neighbourhood as well as golf and in the wintertime skiing in nearby Gatineau Park.
Durocher did confirm one important feature, the community will be served with wireless high speed internet.
The development’s building lots are all free-hold and owners will be able to build their own home and hangar on their lot to their own specifications using any builder of their choice, as long as the development rules and municipal by-laws are followed.
The maximum house size that can be built is 17% of the lot size and the minimum size is about 1,000 square feet, depending on the segment of the development the lot is in, so there is lots of flexibility in house design.
Also, houses are required to be built before or at the same time as hangars are built, which will ensure that the community retains its residential character.
The common parts of the aerodrome, including the runways and taxiways will be owned by a condominium-type corporation that every landowner in the development will have one share of. Durocher expects that the monthly fees for runway maintenance, snow clearing and the other common-use facilities will be $50-75.
The purchase agreements include the formation of an architectural control committee that will ensure that house styles and hangar plans will blend in together. The agreements also require that the facility remain an aerodrome unless a vote of all landowners agrees to close the aerodrome. This ensures that as long as even one home owner wants to keep the aerodrome open, then it will stay open.
A positive point about the Pontiac Air Park is that Durocher says it has the enthusiastic backing of the local mayor and council. When completed it will be the biggest residential development in this very rural municipality and they support the project wholeheartedly.
So far Durocher has sold five lots and has reserved two others. When asked by a Flight 8 member if he plans on building a home there himself, Durocher replied quickly, “of course, that is why I started this project.”
For more information, the Pontiac Air Park website is http://www.pontiacairpark.com/ or call 819-LOV-2FLY.