New app allows Montrealers to file airport noise complaints with 'press of a button'
AEROplainte was designed by someone who says he is sick of loud airplanes flying overhead
A new mobile application, designed by a Montreal man who is sick of loud airplanes flying overhead, allows residents to make a noise complaint to local airport authorities instantly.
Bill Mavridis built AEROplainte in hopes of making it easier for others who deal with noise coming from planes at Trudeau airport to file complaints.
Free to download, the app is currently available for Android and is in the beta testing mode for Apple products.
"I realized that the complaints on the ground, that are observed by the airport, do not reflect the reality," Mavridis told CBC Montreal's Daybreak Tuesday.
"There are many people that just don't know how to file a complaint."
With his app, people can lodge their complaint in a matter of seconds, rather than searching online for the airport authority's lines of communication and going through that process.
"With a simple press of button, you can just send your complaint," he said.
Many ways to file complaints
Montrealers from east to west have been complaining about airport and airplane noise for years as aircraft fly over the city day and night.
A group representing residents from Dorval to Ahuntsic-Cartierville even filed a class-action lawsuit against Montreal's Trudeau Airport this spring in an attempt to enforce strict flight curfews.
Under the terms and conditions of their ground lease with Transport Canada, the Aéroports de Montreal (ADM), which runs the airport, must keep track of complaints and act on them.
There is a comments and complaint form on the ADM's website.
Last year, the ADM received 543 noise complaints from 277 people, but some say those numbers don't accurately reflect the actual number of people bothered by the noise.
More than a quarter of those complaints were filed by the same three people. The 2017 complaint numbers represent a decrease from 2016, when 322 people filed 718 complaints.
ADM spokesperson Marie-Claude Desgagnés says the system is simple and easy to access. There are three avenues to complain, including the online form, a dedicated email address and a phone number.
There is also a committee in place, made up of ADM, municipal, provincial and federal government representatives, to study the issue of noise pollution and make proposals to change noise operating restrictions.
The ADM treats complaints seriously and responds to citizens concerned about noise, she added.
The airport authority may claim it is open to complaints and taking concerns seriously, but Mavridis said there is no transparency, follow-up or accountability.
He is hoping increasing the number of complaints will force the ADM to take action.
"If one person complains, they brush you off. If 10,000 people complain, they can't ignore you."
Ahuntsic-Cartierville mayor supports initiative
The mayor of the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough agrees this new method will make it easier for people to put pressure on the ADM.
As it is, Émilie Thuillier told Daybreak, residents call her with concerns because they don't realize there is an official way to complain to the ADM.
There are also those who, like Mavridis, have been complaining for years and feel they are getting nowhere.
"Really, I believe that the ADM and all the members of the committee will benefit from having a more complete picture of what is experienced by Montrealers."
With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak