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Transport Canada looks into helicopters landing at Anmore bash

A spokesperson for Transport Canada said they are taking the situation "very seriously."
Anmore helicopter
A screen grab taken from a promotional video. The mayor of Anmore is furious a lavish party featured in the video was held at rental mansion in his community.

VANCOUVER — Transport Canada is looking into whether it was legal for operators to land helicopters at a lavish mansion party in the quiet village of Anmore on Saturday.

Justin Plosz, the organizer of the party that featured three helicopters, high-end sports cars, massive amounts of alcohol, one drug overdose and bikini-clad social media influencers, has suggested he will stage larger publicity stunts in future, despite objections from some officials.

But Anmore Mayor John McEwen had a message for Plosz Thursday: “You are certainly not welcome here.”

McEwen met with Coquitlam RCMP on Thursday to discuss ways to ensure such a party never happens again in Anmore. He said luxury sports cars were racing down streets where children play, and volunteer firefighters had to be called out to give Naloxone to someone overdosing on drugs.

Natalie Huneault, a spokeswoman for Transport Canada, said they were aware of the helicopters landing and that they’re taking the incident “very seriously.” Under Canada’s aviation laws, helicopters landing in built-up areas must normally land at an airport, heliport or a military aerodrome that meets the appropriate aviation standards.

In the case of private property, Huneault said the operator would require permission from the owner to land. However, they must also comply with minimum altitudes and aircraft operating procedures. An investigation would look at potential hazards to safety, whether the area is considered built-up and if an operator was authorized to perform the operation.

Huneault said that if it’s determined that there has been non-compliance with Canadian aviation regulations, the department will take appropriate enforcement action that could include fines or suspensions. Anmore will also look into amending its bylaws to make it tougher for rental properties in terms of rules to prevent large parties and monitor Airbnb and Craigslist to ensure those regulations are posted, McEwen said.

“We will do whatever we can to make sure this never happens again here or in our neighbouring communities,” he said. “I’m shocked that (Plosz) would boast on social media about having a bigger party. And I’m very concerned about having two helicopters land in a residential neighbourhood.”

McEwen met with Coquitlam RCMP on Thursday to discuss questions they had about the party, such as who gave the organizers authority to have helicopters land in a residential neighbourhood, and stress the severity of the situation so that it doesn’t happen again in Anmore or neighbouring Belcarra, which shares a fire department.

Anmore also filed a complaint with Transport Canada about the helicopters.

Plosz said on Wednesday that there would be more publicity stunts and wild parties. He also said he wasn’t aware until Wednesday that one of the helicopter pilots, Skeeter Russell, was a convicted drug dealer with a long history of gang involvement.

Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said Mounties were called out at about 5:30 p.m. for a noise complaint, and a warning was issued. They were called out again to the same party 2 1/2 hours later for an overdose. The man was treated at the scene but refused further treatment.

No charges were laid.

McLaughlin clarified Thursday that helicopter pilots don’t have carte blanche to land anywhere they want. They can land in many rural areas with the permission of the landowner, but they’re not permitted to land in a built-up town or village without a permit. He added the RCMP is still trying to determine whether the operators had permits.

“The legal question really becomes whether this was a rural area or a built-up area,” said McLaughlin, adding that they’ll be waiting to see what Transport Canada says on the issue.