Noise near Winnipeg’s airport quieter than believed, say new reports

The province says noise levels near Winnipeg’s airport are quieter than believed, according to two new reports.

Municipal Relations Minister Derek Johnson said the provincial government has received two reports that review noise levels around the James A. Richardson International Airport.

The last noise studies done near the airports were in the 1990s, he said.

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“This is an important and long-overdue step forward for Manitoba’s largest airport and the area surrounding it. Current land-use policies … are based on outdated forecasts of aircraft noise,” said Johnson.

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According to Johnson, the study found that predicted noise levels in the area are “substantially reduced” thanks to things like quieter and more efficient aircraft, as well as a different mix of planes flying in the area compared to 25 years ago.

Global News has asked to see those reports, which were not immediately made public.

Read more: Residential development proposed for Polo Park area

The studies come after developers Shindico and Cadillac Fairview proposed several new residential, retail and commercial buildings in the area in 2019.

The City of Winnipeg kiboshed the idea, saying the area was too noisy to allow more residential development.

The Winnipeg Airport Authority agreed, noting that the rules around residential development and noise would need to be rewritten before they can get behind more homes being built in the area.

Under the city’s bylaw, residential construction is prohibited around the Polo Park mall site by a set of rules under the Airport Vicinity Protection Area Secondary Plan (AVPA).

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The purpose of the AVPA is to “protect the 24-hour air operations of the airport by limiting residential noise complaints.”

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The developers then took their idea to the province’s municipal board to review.

In 2020, the province said it will be updating the land-use rules near the airport.

The Noise Exposure Forecast is the official measurement used in Canada for aircraft noise assessment. Transport Canada considers residential development incompatible with airport operations in areas that exceed specific noise thresholds.

Global News has reached out to the WAA and Shindico for comment.

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