I was pleased to read that Donna Shugar has raised questions and concerns regarding the proposal to expand the Sechelt airport (Coast Reporter, Oct. 18).
Our residence is already negatively impacted by the noise generated by frequent low-level helicopter and fixed wing flights which travel to and from the Wilson Creek airfield over Roberts Creek.
Shugar asked Sechelt Coun. Chris Moore what the expected increase in air traffic might be. He said he did not know and it all depends on the business generated. However, the plan on the Sechelt District website states that an estimated annual demand of 62,500 person flights is not being met. As well, cargo and courier flights could be run.
Based on this figure, if Dash 8 turbo-prop aircraft are employed with carrying capacities between 50 to 80 passengers with an average fill rate of 60 per cent, this could equate to an additional 1,250 to 2,080 flights over Roberts Creek per year.
The additional noise impact this would generate in Roberts Creek, Elphinstone, Gibsons and portions of Sechelt is neither acceptable nor required.
Many other communities the same size as Sechelt do not have airports the size being proposed and function well without.
Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish do not have an airport of this size with total resident populations and visitor levels far exceeding those on the Coast.
Heli-medivacs are carried out routinely from Whistler, regardless of weather conditions. I have previously thought that the flight path over Roberts Creek should be changed from its current course and that is something I’d like the Sunshine Coast Regional District to consider now.
If Sechelt really wants this airport expansion, which is primarily designed for supporting growth in that area of the Coast, I would strongly suggest that the entire airport be moved to the west side of Sechelt.