Richmond city council wants to push the airport to use its north runway more and is writing a letter to the federal Minister of Transportation to that effect.
Coun. Harold Steves pointed out that to accommodate Vancouver residents, the runway is largely used for landings but not as much for takeoffs.
“Vancouver of course is the one that objects to the flights to the north and we object to the flights on the south, but what we’ve done, every new building is so well insulated to sound that we can stand it,” said Steves at last week’s committee meeting. He questioned whether the city of Vancouver has put in place any building guidelines for new construction to mitigate noise from planes on the north runway.
The north runway was to be used primarily for landings, except during emergencies, maintenance and high peak times, explained Craig Richmond, president and CEO of the Vancouver International Airport, and it is written in the runway charter that it be used primarily for landings.
“As we become busier and busier and a bigger hub airport, I think we’ll have to start talking to the government about that,” Richmond said. “But that was a restriction placed on us by the federal government.”
Richmond said he can go back in the airport records and find every occurrence of a takeoff from the north runway.
“It’s very important for the people in the south slopes of Vancouver – we’ve never violated that rule,” Richmond said.
Council voted to write to the federal Minister of Transport to ask that the north runway be “better utilized” for departures to reduce noise for Richmond residents, and to write to the City of Vancouver to suggest “noise attenuation measures in new construction be implemented to mitigate airport noise.”
Airport noise complaints
The airport received 920 complaints about noise in 2018 from across Metro Vancouver, but half of these, 457, were from three individuals in Richmond who were complaining about jet departures.
Total complaints from Richmond in 2018 amounted to 711, with 75 per cent about jet departures and nine per cent were about run-ups.
The total number of complaints from across Metro Vancouver was down 29 per cent from 2017 but the number of people complaining remained the same.
The information was presented to council as part of a report to council last week from its citizen representatives to the Vancouver International Airport Aeronautical Noise Management Committee.