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Transport Canada refuses to release information

Re: “Float-plane noise has been reduced,” letter, Jan. 21. “I believe the noise today is well within the tolerance level of most citizens,” the letter-writer says in response to an article about Coun.

Re: “Float-plane noise has been reduced,” letter, Jan. 21.

“I believe the noise today is well within the tolerance level of most citizens,” the letter-writer says in response to an article about Coun. Ben Isitt’s attempts to deal with the issue of float-plane noise. If the writer is correct, what is the harm in Isitt’s request that Transport Canada provide a noise-exposure forecast?

There is a lot of misinformation — to say nothing of opinion masquerading as fact — circulating about float-plane traffic on Victoria Harbour. The Times Colonist does not help by reframing Isitt’s comprehensive efforts to focus solely on noise, when he has been attempting to deal with a host of complex regulatory issues, which involve legal, environmental and safety concerns. And Minister of Transport Marc Garneau does not help by offering “comments” instead of solid information.

Many people do not understand that the Victoria Harbour Water Airport has been operating for 18 years on unapproved “draft regulations,” which Transport Canada refuses to make available for public review. As a result, questions continue to arise as to whether the airport is legal and safe. Victoria’s city council has been asking Transport Canada to address these questions by simply publishing the draft regulations.

If the airport truly is legal and safe, Transport Canada can prove it by publishing the draft regulations. If float planes truly do not pose environmental hazards, Transport Canada can prove it by monitoring noise and emissions. But Transport Canada, despite Isitt’s efforts, refuses to do any of these.

James Gauer

Victoria