Walkerton pilot has trespassing charge thrown out

·2 min read

BROCKTON – Pilot Phil Englishman has had the latest charge of trespassing at Saugeen Municipal Airport thrown out.

On Friday, April 22, Justice of the Peace Thomas Stinson dismissed the charge of trespassing against Englishman that had been laid Nov. 21, two days after the pilot paid airport access fees and signed an agreement. When he went to the airport restaurant for a coffee with friends, he was told to leave – which he did, as soon as he finished his coffee. A call was made by airport officials to the OPP; an officer arrived and issued a ticket for trespassing, which Englishman decided to fight.

For Englishman, it’s the second time the courts have vindicated him in a dispute with Saugeen Municipal Airport that has gone on for three years. It has involved two trespassing charges, both dismissed; complaints to federal authorities (Transport Canada), which were not deemed worth investigating; and four large chunks of concrete placed in front of Englishman’s hangar – not to mention the frustration of dealing with lawyers, the courts and Saugeen Municipal Airport.

When asked for a comment, Englishman said he is contacting the OPP regarding possible charges against the airport manager and commission chair.

Dan Gieruszak, chair of the Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission, was also asked for a comment. His statement is as follows: “On behalf of the Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission it is frustrating for commissioners and staff to have worked so hard to create a safe space for contractors, visitors and users of the airport, and to have these efforts not recognized. The commission is committed to doing everything within its power to enhance the safety of contractors and users of the airport, and will continue to follow the advice of the airport solicitor, as it has in the past.”

Update: When Englishman went to the airport on the weekend, an attempt to pay this year’s fees resulted in him being sworn at by the airport manager and told to get out of her office. The incident was recorded on video.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

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