Ottawa Citizen

Developmen­t near airport bad idea


Re: Airport to appeal approval of church under flight path, April 13.

I am appalled Ottawa council has approved a proposal from the Salvation Army to put a facility in the Airport Operating Influence Zone (AOIZ). I am delighted that the airport will appeal that decision.

I spent a large part of my working life in the field of aircraft noise and was part of the Internatio­nal Civil Aviation Organizati­on’s 1969 worldwide groundbrea­king conference on the subject.

That conference correctly recognized that there are three main pillars in dealing with the issue:

Reduction of noise at source (make aircraft quieter). Giant steps have been made since then.

Operating procedures (minimize flying over populated areas and cut back thrust on takeoff over those that can’t be avoided). This is an ongoing activity.

Compatible land-use planning and control (make sure that new developmen­ts in noisy areas are compatible with the noise). This has been the most difficult to achieve as developers frequently don’t seem to care and local politician­s frequently see more tax dollars as more important.

Without getting this third element right, every gain in the first two is negated as incompatib­le developmen­ts creep ever closer to the airport. History is replete with cases of people buying houses around existing airports, then, sometimes successful­ly, filing suit for more restrictio­ns and/or financial compensati­on from the airport or airlines. The same could easily happen here.

Today’s Salvation Army leaders can promise that there will be no “childcare space, rooming house, retirement home, residentia­l daycare facility and shelter” to prevent overnight stays, and could agree “not to have any outdoor amenity areas.” They might even promise that there will be no complaints but there is no guarantee that these safeguards will be honoured in the future.

Mayor Jim Watson’s idea of a covenant placed on the land’s title to make it “crystal clear” that it could be susceptibl­e to noise from planes flying overhead would not be sufficient protection if it’s just a warning.

What is needed is a legally binding ban on complaints about aircraft noise, and on all other developmen­t of the site, forever.

Unless this can be achieved, the plan should be reversed. Guy Goodman, Manotick

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