An online federal petition asking for a review of NAV Canada’s plan to increase air traffic over the Tri-Cities will be tabled before the House of Commons.
E-petitions require at least 500 signatures by a certain date to warrant presentation before Canada’s lower house of parliament, which then receives an official response.
The petition – started by a group of local residents and sponsored by Port Moody–Coquitlam MP Bonita Zarillo – has doubled that requirement.
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More than a thousand people have signed the petition, which closes on June 17.
The petition requests Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra prepare an independent environmental assessment of the noise and emission levels, complete with recommendations for minimizing impacts before any changes are implemented.
The assessment should be made public, done independently from NAV Canada, and based on the latest global research and recommendations for noise and emission limits, the petitions states.
NAV Canada, which owns and operates Canada’s civil air navigation system, proposed changes under the Vancouver Airspace Modernization Project (VAMP). The changes aim to increase safety by streamlining air traffic, and to reduce emissions by shortening flight paths.
But the changes have fueled anxiety and concern across the affected communities since the beginning of the year.
Portions of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam are already along a flight path but the changes would allow a more direct line at lower altitude over the cities before turning to land at Vancouver International Airport.
Modelling presented by NAV Canada to various city councils projected noise levels at 55 to 60 decibels.
The website created by the petitioners cites World Health Organization recommendations, which state anything above 45 decibels is associated with negative health effects.
The petitioners also claim NAV Canada is not an impartial or independent organization, stating its objectives are narrowly focused on increasing airline capacity and efficiency.
NAV Canada’s proposals have been opposed by the city councils of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody; the latter two writing letters asking for reconsideration.
Implementation of the new flight paths were proposed to start in fall or winter, 2023, subject to the end of the consultation period.