Noise and the St. Hubert airport

Noise management at the St-Hubert airport… I recall some facts in this letter published on 17 March 2011.

A random survey that pours oil on the fire…

Not a month after the Quebec Superior Court rendered its judgement (February 18th, 2011) and confirmed that DASH-L had the power of recourse to regulations to limit the noise from flying schools (thus validating the recommendations of the Flanagan report), the MP for St-Bruno/St-Hubert, Carole Lavallee, decided to take a survey and pour oil on the fire. This survey, improvised solely to hasten the development of the airport, would bring to nothing the laborious efforts of citizens who have legitimately mobilized to express their complaints and try to find a route to a solution.

Is it not surprising that an MP would thus discredit the claims of people who have won their case before an impartial judge? The scene had been set for DASH-L (the real manager of airport operations and development) to take on its task conscientiously while respecting the concerns of those living around the airport. The signal sent by this judgement called for respect for citizens. The Bloc MP is trying to wreck everything by pulling out figures that can only be divisive when we should be looking for a consensus. While taking fully into account the technical, economic, social and environmental (noise pollution) issues, it is necessary to encourage frank and open discussion between the parties in order to reach the best decision. Considering the complexity of this question involving a very large number of people (including the entire citizenry, for sure), we might expect initiatives that are much more constructive and certainly more conciliatory on the part of an MP.

If job creation is the main objective of the St. Hubert airport development, why do the Bloc MPs fail to support the F-35 fighter program and thus turn their backs on thousands of workers and their families who count on these jobs in this period of economic recovery? The aerospace industry is a shining light in the Quebec economy. This is the only place in the world where all the components of aircraft construction can be obtained. Gilles Labbe, president of Heroux-Devtak, said on Jan. 14th that the fighter program would open up unprecedented procurement opportunities for Canadian firms, ensuring work and benefits for 30 years to come.

No one would ever think of closing the airport or abating the noise as a solution. Putting the issue in such simplistic terms is offensive to the 2,250 people who signed the petition (more than the 602 who replied to the random survey and may live some distance from the airport). The MP for St-Bruno/St-Hubert, who is taking superficial studies as a guide, is a good example of Bloc MPs who can allow themselves to say whatever they please without being called to account. But poking fun at public opinion in this way can be a dangerous game.