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Victoria Airport Authority sees drastic drop in noise complaints

VAA received eight reports between October 2021 and April 2022, down from 61
According to a written report from Coun. Terri O’Keeffe, Victoria Airport Authority received eight air traffic noise complaints, down from 61. (Black Press Media file photo)

Complaints about air traffic noise related to operations at Victoria International Airport were down between October 2021 and April, compared to the same period a year ago.

According to a written report from Coun. Terri O’Keeffe, Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) received eight such reports, down what she called significantly from 61 during the last reporting period. Six of the complaints came from two residents (three each) and were related to circuit training and a regular late-night cargo flight, she said. Authorities did not initiate any corrective actions as the incidents were part of normal airport operations, she said.

So what accounts for the drop? O’Keeffe said complaints might be down because fewer people are working from home to notice airport traffic and more education has been done by the VAA as the COVID-19 pandemic has entered a different phase.

O’Keeffe’s report also suggested the number of future complaints will remain low. “Circuit training which attracts the most queries will be reduced this summer, due to staffing challenges at Nav Canada who monitors the air space,” she said.

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She added the 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron expects to reduce helicopter training flights from approximately 15 a week to five to seven due to upcoming operational demands.

She also said VAA will conduct a noise study update in August, which will involve placing sound metres in different places around the community to test noise levels.

VAA is preparing seven FAQ sheets on circuit training, drones and general operations among other subjects to be published on its website. It will also no longer take noise enquires by phone. Residents can instead fill out the online form on the VAA website.

O’Keeffe also touched on the subject of drones. “Drones have gained in popularity and drone pilots must now receive clearance from Nav Canada to operate,” she said. “Nav Canada only looks at issues related to compliance with drones in air space around airports. Other complaints related to nuisance or privacy concerns should be directed to the RCMP.”

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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