Letter: Helicopters noisy, risky flying over populated areas

Flight path crosses three West Kelowna schools, at least five high density mobile home parks and thousands of private residences.

To the editor:

In the last couple of months there has been an increasing amount of helicopter traffic over our residence flying low enough to create a noisy inconvenience and even rattle plates and pictures on occasion.

There are currently three helicopter companies operating from the area of Hudson Road and Highway 97 South in West Kelowna so I contacted two of them. A very nice man at Alpine Helicopters took the time to explain to me that both the flight path and the altitude of the flight are determined by the Ministry of Transportation (Hon. Todd Stone).

I opened a map of West Kelowna and traced the flight path from their respective hangers and the direction of flight which appears to cross Gellatly Bay. It is very obvious that the flight path crosses three schools, Chief Tomat Elementary, Mt. Boucherie Secondary, Constable Neil Bruce Middle School, at least five high density mobile home parks and thousands of private residences.

It is also very easy to see that all this could be avoided by having them fly due east for a short distance to Okanagan Lake and then turn south and fly over open water.

I am quite sure that all three helicopter companies do their due diligence and follow strict maintenance and machine inspection programs. I also am aware that the risk of a helicopter crashing is very low, but why have any risk to the thousands of residents, students and businesses in West Kelowna at all?

I urge all residents who are having their quality of life disturbed by the constant high volume of noise or have any concerns for the lives and safety of their families to write to Todd Stone, the Minister of Transportation.

Richard Callihan, West Kelowna


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