British Columbia

City of Richmond bans drones and remote-controlled planes

The City of Richmond, banned the use of all remote-controlled aircraft, including drones and power kites, in city parks and school grounds.

The ban includes remote-controlled planes and power kites

The City of Richmond has banned drones and other remote-controlled aircraft from parks and school grounds. (CBC)

The City of Richmond, B.C., banned the use of all remote-controlled aircraft, including drones and power kites, in city parks and school grounds. 

"We recognize obviously there's been a great explosion in types of powered small crafts that are out there flying around in the air, and so the bylaw simply extends to cover all types of crafts," said City of Richmond spokesperson Ted Townsend.

City council voted in favour of the ban at a meeting Monday night.

Unmanned aircraft have caused controversy in recent years. In July 2014, a drone was captured flying dangerously close to YVR. The previous month, a drone from a movie set crashed in downtown Vancouver. 

The fact the new bylaw includes other remote-controlled aircraft and power kites, raised the ire of recreational and professional users of those devices. 

"Having an arbitrary rule that we cannot fly anymore, it's kind of curtailing us," said Norbert Brand, who flies remote-controlled aircraft in the region. 

Brand says he's careful to fly his planes in areas where there aren't many people or pets nearby.

Andy Horka, an aerial photographer and the owner of Big Sky Cam, said other jurisdictions have put in more "sensible" legislation. 

"Maybe get in some guidelines. Maybe up to a certain size, you can fly these aircraft in a certain way," said Horka.

The City of Richmond said it's working with hobbyists and drone enthusiasts to find a happy medium.

With files from Farrah Merali


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