What's that helicopter doing over Monte Creek?

YOU ASKED:For the last week, there has been a blue and white helicopter working between the river and the mountains over Monte Creek. Who owns it and what are they doing?

- Ed Herman

OUR ANSWER:We weren't sure where to start on this one, so we sent a query to the Ministry of Environment, asking if they had any crews doing aerial surveying in the area.

Then we posted the question on Twitter and Facebook, to see if any Daily News readers knew the answer.

That prompted a good lead from Dan Port, who suggested we try to get the tail number and search online for the aircraft's owner, and another from Kiran Granger, who suggested it might be a Ministry of Forests crew.

We also got some good ideas via Twitter, thanks to Michelle Frame, who suggested we call McElhanney Consulting, which does surveying, mapping, etc.

McElhanney said it wasn't theirs.

We tried Telus, thinking they might have a cable crew in the area, but, no. We also left a message with the Kamloops RCMP, thinking maybe it was a police chopper in the sky above Monte Creek.

Alas, Daily News reporter Michele Young, who has proved to be the Readers' Reporter's best tipster in the past, said "Why don't you call the airport?"

Indeed, Kamloops Airport was the right call, because it led us to Airspan Helicopters, based out of Sechelt.

Chief pilot Paul Tosczak - the man flying that chopper over Monte Creek - happily confirmed it was his aircraft that's been seen overhead in recent days.

"That's correct," said Tosczak. "What we're doing is powerline maintenance for B.C. Hydro on the one transmission line that's running through here. Basically we're just renewing old structures that are old and decayed, that are worn out. Just updating their powerlines for them."

Our reader, Ed Herman, mentioned what appeared to be a line dangling from the helicopter.

Tosczak said those would have been the power poles that he airlifted into place along the route.

"We didn't want to wreck the neighbour's yards, so we use the helicopter, which is a little bit faster, a little less of an imprint on the neighbour's yards."

Friday was Tosczak's last day in Monte Creek and he offered a few parting words of appreciation for the residents. "I'd just like to thank everybody in the community of Monte Creek and Pritchard for their co-operation," he said.

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