October 3, 2023

Victoria International Airport (YYJ) Honoured with 2023 Environmental Award

For Immediate Release – October 3, 2023

Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) recently announced the winners of the Environmental Achievement Awards. Each year ACI-NA recognizes outstanding achievements in the categories of Environmental Management, Mitigation, Innovative/Special Projects and Outreach/Education/Community Involvement and Environmental Improvement with Limited Resources. 

Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) was selected as the winner under the Environmental Improvement with Limited Resources category for its Pollinator Garden Project. 

ACI-NA also selected winners in four other categories. Denver International Airport won the Environmental Management category for their “Low-Carbon, Cost-Effective, Reliable, and Resilient” energy projects.  Los Angeles World Airports earned the Outreach, Education and Community Involvement award for their “Noise Portal” project.  The Innovative/Special Projects category winner is Jackson Hole Airport for the “JAC Special Projects” related to their runway reconstruction.  And the final winner is San Diego County Regional Airport Authority for their “Airside Renewable Diesel at SAN” project in the Mitigation Category.  Last but not the least, an Honorable Mention in the Environmental Management category is going to Portland International Airport for their “Concourse E Extension” project. 

About the Pollinator Garden Project:

The garden is located along Willingdon Road next to the roadside digital billboard.  The area was originally a thriving Garry oak meadow that supported a rich and diverse ecosystem, featuring grasslands, woodlands, and abundant camas wildflower fields in the spring.  This land holds high significance to the W̱SÁNEĆ People’s culture and history.  The new garden increases the biodiversity of the area, bringing awareness to the importance of native plant species, and honouring our original ecosystem.

Bees are the most effective pollinators with over 450 native bee species in British Columbia alone.  Pollination is an essential process for most plant species to reproduce.  Without pollinators, many plant life cycles would be unsuccessful, affecting everything from food production, and local wildlife, to overall ecosystem health.  Pollinator gardens are most impactful when they are planted with native species to support native pollinators.  Native species have evolved to their landscape and climate over thousands of years which also means they required little care and maintenance to thrive.

Over 2000 plants were planted within the pollinator garden space of 1100m2 and the mixture of local plants and shrubs will provide various cycles of plants for the pollinators including habitat during dormant periods.

”Our partners and sponsors really supported us with the vision of this project working to enhance and bring awareness to local biodiversity, said Ken Gallant, VAA Vice President, Operations.  It really shows what can be achieved when we come together for a project.  We’ve learned a lot from our partners during the planning, consultation, and execution of this project.  We look forward to continuing learning about biodiversity enhancement and the land’s history as we extend knowledge into other projects.  We hope to inspire the surrounding community to complete their own biodiversity enhancement projects!”

The panel of judges appreciated VAA’s level of energy and commitment to seeing the YYJ Pollinator Garden to completion and particularly noted and complimented VAA’s outreach and cooperation with the local members of the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations.

VAA wishes to acknowledge and thank the input and guidance of staff from W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council and Tiffany Joseph from Habitat Acquisition Trust that contributed greatly to the vision of the pollinator garden project.  We also acknowledge the following sponsorship partners for their generous assistance which made the project come to fruition: Pollinator Partnership Canada, FED Urban Agriculture Society, Synergy Enterprises, Satinflower Nurseries, Island Earth, Stantec, Listco Irrigation, Vancity, and Garden City Tree & Landscape. 

Visit the pollinator garden to learn more.

About Victoria Airport Authority
Victoria Airport Authority is a not-for-profit authority that has managed the safe and secure operations of the Victoria International Airport on behalf of the surrounding communities since April 1, 1997.

Media Contact – Victoria Airport Authority
Rod Hunchak – Director, Business Development and Community Relations