Perth considers drone by law

When they can fly, the skies of Perth may soon see more drones taking to the air– and more rules to regulate where and.

Town council is examining a bylaw to deal with drones, also known as “Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAVs).” In a report to town council, delivered during the committee-of-the-whole meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7, community services director Shannon Baillon wrote that “the popularity of drones has increased and several drone operators have approached town staff to request permission to fly their aircraft over town property.”

The bylaw seeks to provide criteria for flying drones over town-owned property.

” These drones are pretty sophisticated,” said Mayor John Fenik. “A lot of these drones have video cameras.” As such, Fenik wanted to see restrictions placed on their ability to take photos and video of people in their private spaces, as has been done in other jurisdictions.

” When these drones are here … I’m big on protecting people’s rights,” he said.

Baillon reassured the mayor that drones are also regulated by Transport Canada, and that these laws would seek to respect people’s rights.

“We wouldn’t have an air traffic controller.” Coun. Jim Graff jokes about the bylaw’s limitations

” They (drones) can not get low enough into people’s back yards,” she said.

Coun. Jim Boldt, who chaired the meeting, said that “drones are a new and upcoming thing,” and that even real estate agents are using them to shoot video of properties for sale. Fenik agreed, noting that a drone was used to take photos during the 2016 kilt run.

However, Boldt queried if this bylaw would result in a jump in calls for service to the OPP.

” If we are aware and know that they (drones) are out there … it does not have to be a law enforcement person” who comes out, said Baillon, but, rather, a bylaw official. When the drones will be flown, the bylaw would see to it that the town is informed of where and.

Coun. Ed McPherson wondered if he were flying a drone in his backyard, and it flew out onto nearby Mather Street, if that would constitute flying over town property.

” Technically, yes,” said Baillon.

Coun. Jim Graff welcomed the bylaw, saying that it was no different than an airplane having to register a flight plan, though, “we wouldn’t have an air traffic controller.”

Coun. Riq Turner abstained from the discussion, citing business interests in drones. Minus his vote, the motion to pass the proposed bylaw and forward it to town council passed unanimously.

The proposed paperwork is only a page long, containing details such as the dates the drone will be flown, contact information, and times it will be flown. The director of community services would then have to sign off on the request. “The CAO will determine if permission will be granted based on the scenario.”

The applicant agrees that he or she “comply and understand with all applicable Transport Canada regulations and shall operate my UAV with the town approved location.”

The proposed bylaw states that “any UAV operator found on town property not following this policy will be removed from the premises by law enforcement authorities.”

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