From the Editor:

As I compiled this edition of the Right to Quiet Society Newsletter, I have taken great pleasure in reporting the media attention our concerns have attracted this year. Raising public awareness is a key activity in the furthering of our cause, as politicians usually need to perceive public support before they will act on an issue.

Of course, we also need to push, en masse, for immediate enforcement of laws already on the books, as the torment we face in the present often leads to illness and, in the extreme cases, noise rage and its sometimes disastrous consequences. Enforcement isn't just an option, at the discretion of an otherwise uninvolved third party such as a bylaw officer, but must be mandatory, as it can literally save lives.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite members to provide material for publication in future newsletters, either in the form of "letters to the editor", or of submissions which might be of interest to the members of the Society. Contributions such as places to shop, dine, or vacation which anyone has found which are largely free of muzak and other unwanted noise would be welcome. For example, we were pleased to find an absence of piped music at Trolls Restaurant in Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, when we dined there last spring. A worthwhile longer-term goal would be to compile a listing similar to the "Guide de Quiet" available in Paris. Please send any contributions to <editor@quiet.org>, or to the postal address on the front of this newsletter.

-V. D.

Bridgeport Residents File Suit Over Noise From Third Runway

Plagued by the steady roar of third runway aircraft traffic directly overhead from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., Bridgeport residents in Richmond, BC are suing the Vancouver International Airport and the Federal Government of Canada for damages. A finding of liability could apply to 339 plaintiffs representing 158 legal lots.

The plaintiffs allege that, during public hearings on the airport expansion, the authorities were not forthcoming about flight paths and future plans to use the runway for takeoffs (which are even louder than the current landings), and that the resulting material increase in noise pollution has greatly decreased their property values and quality of life. Poor land use planning has also occurred, as the governments involved have had some 50 years to avert this growing catastrophe by concentrating industrial, instead of residential development in the area.

Some eleven years ago, the Environmental Review Panel recommended that there be proper compensation of residents affected by the increasing noise from the third runway, and specific restrictions on the use of it (i.e. only for landings during certain hours and for take-offs only in emergencies and temporarily during maintenance of the other runways). Past President John Beltz made a verbal submission to the panel an our Society's behalf. As Hans Schmid, who also made both verbal and written submissions says, "Although the Government is not obliged to abide by the recommendations, it should reflect very badly upon them if they get away with ignoring them."

Our Society has directly benefitted from the publicity surrounding the case, as Hans was interviewed on BCTV's 6 p.m. news broadcast, and was the guest on an hour-long talk show on radio station CKNW regarding the court case and noise pollution in general. This important case puts noise pollution on the same footing as other environmental scourges such as air and water pollution.

We wish the plaintiffs, including our Society's own members Gary and Sherry Sutherland, success in this important endeavour.

Children living in the flight path of a new German airport showed significant increases in blood pressure and stress hormones.
-Cornell University Study, 1998

Right to Quiet Society Newsletter, Fall 2000

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