Delta noise complaints not heard in consultation with airport

Delta’s concerns about noise and effects on bird life as a result of increased airport traffic have not been heard, according to a report by Delta staff. 

The Vancouver Airport Authority projects a significant increase in passengers and runway movements over the next 20 years, some of which will directly affect North Delta and Tsawwassen. Paula Kolisnek, senior corporate policy analyst at the Corporation of Delta, said the “forecasted increase will have a tremendous impact on the community, regardless of the height of the aircraft”, in a report presented to Delta council last week.

Planes fly over North Delta and Tsawwassen at an elevation of between 3,000 and 11,000 feet. The impacts of increased traffic include a potential increase in “noise events”— aircraft flying overhead and emitting a sound at up to 70 decibels— 85 is generally a dangerous decibel level, however this depends on the duration of the sound. Another concern is aircraft interference with birds in flight. Delta’s skies are a flyway, a flight path that thousands of migrating birds take each day.

Kolisnek is a member of the airport’s aeronautical noise management committee and was involved in the public consultation process. Kolisnek said during the consultation that “community airspace implications must be considered” in YVR’s upcoming 20-year plan and requested “that future aircraft traffic be moved to unpopulated areas of the Lower Mainland.” Neither of these concerns were included in the airport authority’s recently released Phase 2 Consultation Summary Report

The authority has been developing their 2017-2037 master plan since 2015. On Jan. 18 the master plan highlights were published. In it, the authority projected the airport will see a significant increase in air traffic.

  • Passengers: from 22.3 million in 2016 to 35 million by 2037.
  • Runway movements, take offs and landings: from 280,124 in 2016 to 327,730 in 2037.

This is not the first time Delta staff feel excluded from consultation. When the airport authority added the GRIZZ STAR arrival route in 2007, which affected North Delta and Tsawwassen, they did so without public consultation. This generated complaints from Delta residents and led the airport to modify those routes. 

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 12.15.37 AM
Total noise complaints and individuals making complaints. Courtesy of YVR 2015 Annual Noise Report


Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 12.15.15 AM
Noise concerns in 2015, by community. Courtesy of YVR 2015 Annual Noise Report.



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