Increased activity and noise at the Qualicum Beach Airport because of helicopter training has staff looking at ways to limit and control operators’ activity. — NEWS file photo

Qualicum Beach working to limit, control airport activity

Ongoing helicopter training generates noise complaints in town

Qualicum Beach engineering director Bob Weir said the town is working toward limiting and controlling the helicopter activity at the Qualicum Beach Airport.

During a presentation to council Monday (April 16), Weir, who is also the airport manager, said the town has been experiencing “a lot” of helicopter training, which has resulted in a number of noise-related complaints from residents.

He said the training is emergency procedure training for helicopter pilots, adding the training has been conducted at the airport for at least 24 years.

The training, he said, is mandated by Transport Canada.

“Transport Canada governs the operations within the airspace. There’s not much the Town of Qualicum Beach can do about it. We cannot deny them access to the airport.”

Weir said the town now has four operators using the airport, which has increased activity at the location, but he said there isn’t a lot the town can do in regards to increased noise and activity.

He said staff is looking into controlling the duration of the training, but he said the initial responses from Transport Canada were “not particularly encouraging.”

The airport users’ committee and the operators, Weir said, are working to give as much advanced notice as possible to the residents. He also said they’re working to avoid lengthy training sessions.

Weir said there is co-operation from two of the operators who only take off from the airport and do their training at other sites, but another company is “not so co-operative.”

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