The Whitehorse airport had a noisy visitor last week.
A military jet was observed circling the airport numerous times prior to landing.
It appeared to be a CF-18, for those of a plane-spotting inclination.
It could have been a component of the recent Arctic military war games.
Or maybe it was part of the security detail for the flying visit by the prime minister to Dawson City.
Whatever the cause, its visit here was certainly noticed.
If one did not see it, anyone within downtown Whitehorse and adjacent suburbs would have heard it.
The noise of those military jets is loud, very loud indeed. Especially when they circle constantly prior to landing.
Perhaps the reason for this manoeuvre was to remind Yukoners that Canada does indeed have a military.
Or maybe it is a subtle reminder to neighbouring countries that the Yukon is indeed part of the Dominion of Canada and should not be taken for granted.
Whatever the reason, there must be a way to do it with less noise being inflicted upon residents of Whitehorse.
Now it must be mentioned that most aircraft are noisy.
Commercial jets landing and taking off make a lot of noise.
They land, they take-off, but then they are gone.
They do not linger.
That military jet seemed to have no other purpose than to disturb the audio spectrum by repeatedly circling downtown.
This is going to have to change.
The downtown and adjacent subdivisions are getting denser.
Lots are being subdivided and condominium and apartment complexes are sprouting like mushrooms.
In addition, brand new subdivisions are sprouting up very close to the existing core areas.
Raven’s Ridge is seeing construction, and the old tank farm could have residences going up very shortly.
Part of being good neighbours in these dense times involves respecting everyone’s desire for peace and quiet.
This applies to the airport and its guests just as it applies to homeowners.
Some would argue that relocating the airport is called for.
This should not occur.
The current location of the airport is ideal.
It is centrally located and provides convenient access to locals and tourists alike.
It is not like Edmonton’s international airport.
This is situated so far from that city’s downtown core that one almost needs a separate flight to travel between the two locations.
Also, it is not the fault of the Whitehorse airport that subdivisions have grown up or become denser around it.
Besides, the location makes it ideal to do typically Yukon-type things.
Where else in North America can one walk off an international flight, balance a suitcase on one’s head and take the walking trail around the north end of the runway to get to downtown?
This convenience is worth the noise that regular commuter jets make.
What is not worth it is when unnecessary noise is created.
The military jets are welcome to visit as long as they do not create an unnecessary ruckus.
Whitehorse even has bylaws in place that address noise.
A section of the maintenance bylaw states in part that “everyone who makes or causes noises or sounds in or on a highway or elsewhere in the city, which disturbs or tend to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the neighbourhood or of persons in the vicinity, shall upon warning from any peace officer cease making or causing such noises forthwith.”
Now it is suspected that the bylaw officers probably do not have a truck that is capable of pulling over a CF-18 and asking the pilot to keep the noise levels down.
But it is telling that Whitehorse values peace and quiet enough to have a portion of a bylaw about it.
Part of the joy of living in the North is the peace and quiet everyone has access to.
As northern communities become more compact, there will be societal strains to try and maintain that peace and quiet for everyone.
The military jets are more than welcome to visit but they in turn should respect community goals.
A little bit of quiet can do more for community peace than millions of dollars worth of military hardware.