In the last couple of years the GTAA has begun conducting a Community Outreach program in an effort to better communicate the operations of the airport with residents. For many of us, it is a case of Airport 101 and it is much appreciated.
The first Outreach I attended was regarding a proposed series of three 10% increases in night flights at Pearson. Night flights are movements (landings or take offs) that occur between 12:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. At the time I was not aware that there is currently an average of 38 night flights each and every night. In fact, I had been erroneously told by other residents in the past that there were no night flights allowed at all. The reason we don’t notice them is mainly because runway 33L/15R, whose flight path is directly over Rockwood, has the lowest priority for usage at night. Consequently, I felt and still feel a bump in night flights would appear to have a minimal effect on our community.
However, as I attended a number of Outreaches, I encountered a lot of very angry people about perceived increased airplane noise. For the most part, their concern involved a procedure called “early turns”. This procedure allows planes to turn towards their destinations at lower altitudes than previously. These early turns generally go directly over Rockwood. Early turns of Propeller Aircraft for all runways have been in place since the 1970’s. Early turns for smaller jet aircraft on east/west runways was formalized in 2005 after a trial started in 2000. How many people, if any remember being informed of this trial and providing input into its impact? Regardless, it is too late as the procedures are formalized. However, many people perceive the number of early turns has increased and so has the noise. I have been told by the GTAA that the numbers have not increased. I have requested the data regarding the number of early turns on each flight path from 2008 until now to verify their claim. To date, they have not provided the data. Even if there has been an increase, I don’t know if anything can be done about it but it would be nice to know.
This is background to the point there are currently two trials under way that do directly affect the Rockwood and Applewood Heights communities. Both trials were started in 2008 and are currently under review (not sure what that means). Until I started attending these Outreaches, I was not even aware of the trials. The trials are;
1. Extending the hours for “early prop turns” from 7 am – 11 pm to 6:30 am – 11:30 pm.
2. “Early jet turns” are now being used on the two north/south runways.
I do not know what we as residents can do to fight these trials from becoming formalized. I do not know if the residents even care. However, I do know that now you know what is underway. There is an upcoming Rockwood AGM on May 17 where Robyn Connelly from the GTAA and Councillor Chris Fonseca will be in attendance. This will be your chance to voice your concerns, demand some answers about what can be done by the residents to prevent these trials from becoming formalized and find out what your Councillour is doing to address your concerns.
We’ve all heard of the Noise complaint System. I’m not sure of how it works or if it really has any effect. At the next CENAC meeting on June 6 at 4 pm at the GTAA offices, there is to be a presentation of the Noise Complaint Procedure and how it works. The public is usually welcome to ask questions and make comments at these meetings.
I suggest that all those who have concerns show up to better understand how the system works and what you need to do to make it effective for you. If you do not act now, do not complain later.