Nunatsiaq News
LETTERS: Nunavut June 15, 2012 - 8:00 am

Mayor responds to Iqaluit helicopter story


Iqaluit City Councillors said nothing about experiencing headaches from helicopters and none of the councillors were “buzzing mad” when discussing the Amadjuak Lake application.  

Nor would it be correct to say concerns about the amount and kind of helicopter flying over Iqaluit or nearby is limited to councillors — as other community residents, especially campers and hunters have commented about the increasing frequency of helicopter flights and noise disruption from one particularly loud helicopter.

Nunavut Research Institute and Inuit Heritage Trust provide research applications to Hunters’ and Trappers’ organizations and municipal council for review and approvals.  Some city councillors wanted to know whether Amarok HTO has approved of this application or not and whether the HTO has any issues regarding this project.  

We recognize and respect that the HTO’s role is ensure that concerns regarding environment, wildlife and Inuit harvesting rights are considered and any concerns are brought to the regulatory agency and proponent.

Council members also recognize that there is growing amount of helicopter use for a variety of different projects near Iqaluit.  I don’t believe anyone proposed a study be done, rather that information be obtained from NRI and IHT to assess the number, location and kind of projects utilizing helicopters from and near our community.

Approvals of such applications are dealt with individually but at some point, when the number of individual applications of the same or similar nature, it may be prudent to ascertain the number and kind of activity happening around our community and accumulative impacts of such.  

Secondly, an interagency meeting to discuss process and identify any potential concerns be brought up and any need for these to be addressed, such as asking about the helicopter flight paths to and from the airport to the sites.  

I have personally witnessed on several occasions, helicopters attempting to fly in high winds with large and heavy cargo over our community and returned to the airport because the load was clearly swaying very dangerously.  The goal is to ensure interagency cooperation, receipt of adequate information to make informed decisions, as well as, ensure the safety of the pilots and our residents.

Furthermore, this was one relatively small agenda item, which did not overly consume the council members time at the meeting.  The majority of the meeting dealt with regular council business, including substantive issues related to land development, bylaw approvals, departmental updates, community presentation, awarding RPFs and correspondence.  The public is always welcome to attend council meetings or obtain copies of meeting minutes from administration.

Mayor Madeleine Redfern

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