British Columbia

Noise from cherry-blasting helicopters irks West Kelowna residents

Residents of West Kelowna, B.C, are calling on the city to enforce noise bylaws to keep helicopters from flying near their homes in the early hours of the morning.

West Kelowna CAO Jim Zaffino says city can't control noise from federally-regulated airspace

Cherry farmers use helicopters to blow water off their crops and keep the fruit from splitting. (CBC)

Residents of West Kelowna, B.C, are calling on the city to enforce noise bylaws to keep helicopters from flying close to their homes in the early hours of the morning.

Cherry farmers hire the helicopters to blow water off their crops and keep the fruit from splitting — frequent rain in the Okanagan this year has kept the city's three helicopter companies busy. 

"The complaints were the time of day that they were taking off. I believe it was as early as 4:30 in the morning," said West Kelowna CAO Jim Zaffino. 

"And also that they were flying low over residential areas."

Zaffino said the city can't do much to address the issue, as airspace is regulated federally.

"With something like a motorcycle or a car that has a loud engine, we could enforce it and issue a ticket or issue a cease order to stop the noise," he said.

"But under the federal legislation and provincial legislation we don't have the authority to enforce [helicopters]."

West Kelowna mayor and council are scheduled to discuss the issue at Tuesday's city council meeting. 

"We haven't given up. We are looking at going to Transport Canada and the province to find out what the options are," Zaffino said. 

With files from Brady Strachan

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