‘It's like a freight train’: Residents of rural N.S. community upset with helicopter noise
Published Saturday, September 9, 2017 7:07PM ADT
Last Updated Saturday, September 9, 2017 7:11PM ADT
Residents in a rural area near Halifax say their peace and quiet has been shattered by the unbearable noise of nearby helicopters.
The helicopters are owned by a local charter company and operating from a 72-acre piece of land in the area.
Area resident, Larry Gayton says he built his home on Enfield Road because he wanted to live in a quiet place, but that has since changed.
“I wanted to be where it was quiet, and when I built this place in 1987, finished it in '89, it was very quiet,” he says.
Gayton says the loud noise started a little over a month ago and it has become intolerable.
“Almost like a hurricane, you know when you get the noise from a hurricane and it's like a freight train, except it’s the helicopter blades, very, very annoying noise,” he says.
The helicopters are owned by Vision Air Services and they’re executing training exercises near the area of complaint.
“They're allowed to fly legally within 500 feet, but myself and some of the neighbors figure they were down around 200 feet, easily, and very close to the houses,” Gayton says.
Andy Cornwall is one of the members of a group formed by residents, called "Stop Helicopter Noise."
“It's such a noise that the house becomes uninhabitable,” he says.
Last month, the group met with Vision Air and residents say they’ve also complained to Transport Canada about the noise.
In an email, Vision Air told CTV News: “Vision Air is operating within the bounds of its operating certificate and Transport Canada regulations.”
A spokesperson with Transport Canada says the department has investigated complaints about helicopter use in this area, but found no rules were being broken.
Transport Canada also says the department encourages residents and aviation companies to find solutions to these issues on their own.
Cornwall says federal regulations are too lenient and he thinks they should be changed because he’s been told operations like Vision Air don't fall under municipal or provincial jurisdiction when it comes to noise control.
“This means that any community in Canada can find that there is a helicopter facility right next door and the community has no word, no say into its being there or not,” Cornwall says.
While the training exercises are short term, Cornwall says he's worried about the future.
“The long term outlook for the property we were told that it's an asset for vision air and that whatever fit into their business plan is what they would be doing with the property.”
Gayton says it’s because of the noise that he’s considering selling the home he built in the late ‘80s.
“I've started thinking for the first time in my life about actually selling my house, and this is our forever home, this is where we wanted to live the rest of our lives,” he says.
This isn't the first time residents have come together in opposition of the activities of Vision Air.
In 2006, the company proposed the development of an aerodrome facility on the same property.
Residents then spoke out against the proposal and the project didn't go forward.
For now, residents have been told the helicopter exercises will resume for another week starting Monday.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.