Squadron at the airport for more than 25 years

I wholeheartedly respect the views and concerns regarding aviation noise on the Saanich Peninsula.

Re: Amazed with noise complains, PNR letters Feb. 11.

I wholeheartedly respect the views and concerns regarding aviation noise on the Saanich Peninsula stated in the above noted letter to the editor.

As a resident of Sidney (living on the west side of the Pat Bay highway), I am also acutely sensitive to aviation noise, particularly having two young children at home. I must state however, that my decision to purchase a home inside the control zone of the 10th busiest airport in Canada was made consciously.

This decision was guided primarily by cost, location, services, quality of schools, proximity to employment for both myself and my spouse and most importantly the opportunity to live in the vibrant and welcoming communities of Sidney and North Saanich.

I did, however, prepare myself and my family for the fact that there would be a reasonable expectation of aviation-related noise as the trade off to enjoying these phenomenal benefits.

I would like to take this opportunity to correct one of the assertions that I have heard a number of times from various sources over the years which was echoed in the letter. The author mentions that the 443 Squadron military base was shifted from Esquimalt to the Victoria airport. 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron has been operating from the Victoria airport for more than a quarter century since it moved from the Shearwater (Nova Scotia) airport.

While there were some basing studies related to the Sea King replacement aircraft (of which I was part of), I can categorically state that there have never been any plans to base maritime helicopter operations in Esquimalt.

Maritime helicopters such as the CH148 Cyclone and the CH124 Sea King require a full services airport for much of their routine operations, maintenance and training.

As there is no airport near Esquimalt, nor the real estate available to build one, I can assure you that this has never been a consideration.

LCol. P. MacNamara, Commanding Officer 443(MH) Squadron