OUR VIEW: The sounds and the fury

For more than a quarter-century, large Sea King helicopters and their predecessors have been flying out of the Victoria airport

For more than a quarter-century, large Sea King helicopters and their predecessors have been flying out of the Victoria airport. Look back even further and you’ll see the airport itself was created much earlier and was a training facility for Canadian and British pilots during the Second World War.

Dollars to doughnuts that they, too, received noise complaints from their neighbours.

From all accounts, noise and its relationship with the airport and surrounding Saanich Peninsula neighbourhoods is nothing new. Everyone has had to learn to coexist as best they can and try to respect each other’s, well, airspace.

These days, the Victoria Airport Authority has a noise abatement committee that meets twice a year to discuss issues. The 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron regularly sends a representative to discuss their training schedule and its impact on noise levels around the airfield. VAA says the military doesn’t have to show up — as they are exempt from such local policies — but praised them for doing so, as good neighbours.

Noise from a busy transportation hub is a reality residents in Sidney and on the Peninsula in general have had to get used to (or at least adjust parts of their lives). Mayor Larry Cross has said in the past that his community and those nearby should benefit the most from having the airport in their back yards — and has used that argument to fend off other communities’ desire to get a bigger share.

In the grand scheme of things, we learn to take the bad with the good. And if the bad is the brief comings and goings of men and women training to help their neighbours, then perhaps those sounds should be put into context.

Living in urban areas brings with it a certain amount of noise pollution. In this case, the sounds from 443 Squadron should be heard as good news, not as bad.


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