Recent Society Correspondence

Overflights Harm Tourism in Ontario Park

The following is a letter regarding low flying aircraft over Quetico Wilderness Park in Ontario, written by our president, Hans Schmid, to David Collenette, Minister of Transport and copied to the officials shown below. Letters on this or related subjects from our members to these ministers would greatly help to further the cause.

Hon. David Collenette
Minister of Transport
Place de Ville Tower
C 29th Floor
330 Sparks St.
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N5

Dear Mr. Collenette,

It has come to our attention that the quality and attractiveness of the Quetico Wilderness Park in western Ontario, bordering on Minnesota, is being severely diminished by very stressful, detrimental noise from low flying aircraft. Mr. Jeff Turek and his wife, tourists from the USA, have spent their vacation there for four years in a row and may not return if that problem persists.

They reported that the noise comes from overflights of very low-flying jets, which appear to be in a climbing mode. In the past, those loud and disturbing overflights occurred approximately between midnight and 6 am on week days. This year they noticed a sharp increase in those flights. They were disturbed as early as 8 pm and also on weekends, in addition to the weekday flights before.

They said: "The problem is the noise levels are so great that the planes wake you up and then you lay there for several hours listening to one plane after another." They also find it to be a contradiction when the government that allows those loud, disturbing low-level flights will (rightfully) not allow motor boats on most of the lakes in the wilderness area, because that would disturb the tranquility there.

We fully agree with this observation and ask you how much more the noisy aircraft are disturbing the quiet quality of Quetico Park? We know from our own experiences and numerous studies how detrimental noise in general can be, and particularly that of nocturnal overflights. Unfortunately, this issue has by far not received the attention of our authorities that it really deserves.

Interestingly, local outfitters never mentioned that noise, knowing very well they would scare away potential clients by "advertising" that acoustic blight. As far as we know, all airspace and salt and fresh water are under federal jurisdiction, for which we send this message to you and other ministers whom we consider to have some responsibility in this case. We appeal to you and your colleagues to give this matter serious consideration and hope you will mitigate or, better still, solve this problem before many more tourists will stay away and take their money to quieter, healthier places.

We look forward to your appreciated reply.

Copies to:

Hon. David Anderson
Minister of Environment
Terrasses de Le-Chaudiere
28th Floor
10 Wellington St.
Hull, Quebec
K1A 0H3

Hon. Anne McLellan
Minister of Health
Brooke Claxton Building
(Tunney's Pasture)
Address Locator 0916A
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0K9

Hon. Jerry Ouelette
Minister of Natural Resources (Ontario)

Right to Quiet Society Newsletter, Spring 2003

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