Tri-Cities community worried about possible flight path changes

The City of Port Moody isn’t happy with Nav Canada.

The federal organization, which operates Canada’s air traffic control and civil air navigation system, redesigned flight paths for Metro Vancouver which now includes flying directly over the Tri-Cities area.

“Nav Canada’s proposed new flight paths include arrival approaches that would directly affect the Tri-Cities area, with the potential for more frequent flyovers and more noise pollution,” says Mayor Meghan Lahti.

“As a Council, we feel it’s important to advocate for the health and safety of our residents. Given the likelihood of negative effects for our community, we respectfully ask Nav Canada to reconsider and look for other ways to meet their project goals.”

The proposed changes were announced in late 2022 as a way to modernize the airspace around Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

Lahti has sent a letter to the organization outlining several concerns with the idea, including noise pollution, its impact on the physical and mental health of residents, and the lack of transparency, she feels, was used by Nav Canada to make this decision.

Nav Canada, a private not-for-profit corporation, last month announced it was modernizing the airspace around Metro Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast, and southern Vancouver Island and part of doing that included tweaking flight paths.

It says the noise heard by people will be about the volume of a normal conversation.

“As many as 61,000 fewer residents may be overflown at noise levels above 60 dB(A) when the procedure is used compared to an existing approach procedure,” it says on its website.

“Despite the noise mitigation inherent in the proposal, it’s important to note that entirely avoiding residentially populated areas is simply not possible and that some residents may observe aircraft operating more regularly in certain areas than they had before. Most areas surrounding the airport will continue to observe many of the aircraft operations that they do today, whether they are associated with arrivals or departures.”

Last month, Nav Canada held open houses both in-person and online about the changes and is taking public feedback until Feb. 3rd.

Port Moody isn’t the only one to tell Nav Canada what it thinks, and its feelings are echoed by political leaders in neighbouring Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam.

There’s also an online petition that’s been started by a Coquitlam resident to stop the potential change in flight paths over the Tri-Cities.

The new changes, if they go through, would likely take effect later this year.

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