File Photo: Kelly Hayes - Castanet
File Photo: Kelly Hayes - Castanet

Heliport gets second look

by - Story: 35753

A groundswell of neighbourhood opposition has prompted Kelowna City Council to re-evaluate its support for a heliport in the North End.

Earlier this year, Argus Properties asked City Council to send a letter of non-opposition to Transport Canada in regards to its application for the heliport on Manhattan Drive.

On August 21, Council agreed to send the letter, citing two concerns regarding noise and the potential impact of future development in the surrounding area.

North End Residents Association Director, Sarah Lewis, says residents were outraged when they learned of City Council's decision.

She says a group of concerned area residents got together to try and stop the heliport from being established.

"When we contacted Transport Canada giving them the resident's view of this, they said they only certify the heliport, they don't police it," says Lewis.

"If it's noisy, dirty or you think there are too many flights coming in, you have to take that back to your council. The mayor was under the impression that Transport Canada would police it."

"Knowing that, to me, is new information," says Shepherd. "When we put forward that non-opposition, we put in certain stipulations."

"Would that decision change the minds of council if they knew Transport Canada was not able to meet the expectation we had attached to that non-opposition?"

Lewis says her group also discovered a presentation made by Argus to City Council contained some misinformation.

"We found that it was flawed because they said there were no residents there. Well, you have to fly over the top of a residential area and there will be residents there."

She says they are also upset over the fact there was no public consultation with area residents and according to Lewis, there is near unanimous opposition.

"We presented a large petition, about 350 names to the mayor from residents who would be directly affected by helicopter traffic, in the line of fire so to speak."

Lewis also indicated residents are concerned about the potential environmental impact on the region.

"It's right next to Rotary Marsh, it was meant to be a area of tranquility for birds, otters, beavers. This is not the right place at all."

She says she is pleased that City Hall is taking another look at the issue.

Shepherd says council will revisit the issue next Monday. She says both sides will have an opportunity to address City Council.

Shepherd adds that regardless of what council decides, the final decision rests with Transport Canada.

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