Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit June 14, 2012 - 4:12 am

Choppers a headache for Iqaluit city councillors

Studies needed to assess noise disturbance from helicopters

DAVID MURPHY
Helicopters, like this one at Ogac Lake on south Baffin Island, are often used by scientists and mineral exploration firms during the summer. At their June 12 meeting, Iqaluit city councillors complained they make too much noise. (FILE PHOTO)
Helicopters, like this one at Ogac Lake on south Baffin Island, are often used by scientists and mineral exploration firms during the summer. At their June 12 meeting, Iqaluit city councillors complained they make too much noise. (FILE PHOTO)

Iqaluit city councillors are buzzing mad about thundering helicopter noise around town. 

Helicopter traffic increases in the summer months and it’s “annoying” to some city councillors.

Most are used by mineral exploration companies, such as Peregrine Diamonds Ltd., to service exploration camps.

Iqaluit city councillors now say they want studies done to find out how the traffic affects wildlife in the area.

The topic arose at a city council meeting June 12, when a proposal for an Inuit Heritage Trust Inc. archaeology project—seeking permission to fly daily helicopters to areas around southern and interior Baffin Island for one week straight—was deferred for a second time.

The objective of the project would be to spend time locating archaeological sites to “understand the relationship between stone tool technology and human social and technological organizational strategies.”

If council grants permission to IHTI, the helicopters would fly to and from Mingo Lake, Amadjuak Lake, and the mouths of Hone and Nuvungmiut Rivers every day from Iqaluit between July 29 and Aug. 4.

But city councillors want the hunters and trapper’s organization to chime in on the debate before making a decision on the project.

“We have no background information to make a decision,” said councillor Mat Knicklebein, who added he wasn’t necessarily against the project, but just wants more input.

“This is not specific to this request, but for helicopter use in general,” Knicklebein said. “I just think we need more info. It can be quite annoying on the land, and they shake and rattle windows.”

“We like to go outdoors in the summertime. [I] don’t like having helicopters going back and forth, back and forth while I’m camping. They just get to your nerves,” said city councillor Mary Ekho Wilman

The councillors griped about one large helicopter in particular that is very loud, and Mayor Madeleine Redfern said some helicopters may be unsafe while carrying cargo in strong winds above the city.

She said the city is looking into minimizing cargo going into inhabited areas.

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