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Letter: Operational impact of helicopters in Canmore a conversation worth having

Editor: As a longtime Canmore resident and mountain professional with a rescue background, I am very aware and appreciative of the valuable role that Alpine Helicopters plays in our community.

Editor:

As a longtime Canmore resident and mountain professional with a rescue background, I am very aware and appreciative of the valuable role that Alpine Helicopters plays in our community. So, like Scott Wing in his March 12 letter, I think I’m an Alpine supporter. 

However, he and previous commenters seem to keep suggesting that in return for Alpine flying rescues and providing some jobs we ought to be so grateful that we tolerate any and all additional impact that results from tourist flights (i.e. noise, pollution, overflight risk) and that it’s simply unthinkable to consider having some of that traffic relocated out of town.

Neither is the case.

Alpine is not a volunteer service. It’s a business – a large U.S. owned corporation, in fact, not some vulnerable “mom and pop” shop that is very well paid for assisting those rescues. And despite Mr Wing’s implication, no one is looking to prevent Alpine from continuing to profit from their lucrative tourist flights or fire watch services.

The point is that times have changed: in my opinion, Canmore is bursting at the limits of its footprint. The heliport no longer sits on the outskirts of town, and we live not in 1980 but in 2020, with significant new development and congestion, greenhouse gas production and sustainability all being factors that now demand consideration.

Didn’t Canmore just declare a climate emergency? 

So let’s stop acting like the conversation about the heliport is about putting a local company out of business, and recognize that it’s simply about how much operational impact is appropriate in the Canmore of today. A reasonable cap on non-essential flights won’t jeopardize Alpine’s viability or it’s (as yet still) solid reputation among locals.

Carl Johnston,

Canmore



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