I fully support all helicopter operations from the Canmore Municipal Heliport.
Helicopters have been operating out of Canmore commercially since before 1980 and have been an integral part in the continuing development of tourism for our community.
As the past Deputy Fire Chief for the Town of Canmore Fire Department, I have on numerous occasions throughout my fire career requested support from Alpine Helicopters for aerial fire suppression on wildfires that have started within our community’s wild land areas. If it weren’t for the quick action from Alpine Helicopters in water bucketing these hard to access areas for fire suppression, this community and valley would look very different today.
Having tourist flights out of Canmore also gives this community another set of eyes from the air on small actionable fires, that if not detected at the early stages, would grow to possibly unmanageable wild land fires quickly. With regards to wildland fires in the Bow Valley, it’s not a matter if it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when.
Alpine Helicopters also provides vital helicopter access to Banff National Park and Kananaskis Country public safety specialists, utility companies and backcountry lodges (these backcountry lodge clients also contribute to tourism and economic growth to businesses in the Town of Canmore).
With regards to helicopter noise, I too am not a fan of when STARS Air Ambulance is flying directly over my house in Cougar Creek. But I accept it because they are picking up critically ill, or injured patients from the Canmore or Banff hospitals.
I would imagine that any changes to Alpine Helicopter’s business model would have a direct impact on the upwards of 50 staff Alpine Helicopters employ, that live in Canmore.
However, I have noticed that the traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway and the CPR Rail lines has increased dramatically over the years and is far more constant than helicopter traffic. It’s amazing how noisy those year-round, 24-hours a day, trains, semi-trucks and cars are as they drive through Canmore. And are way more destructive to wildlife and human contact than helicopters are.