Proposed Amendment would increase NEF for Whitehorn

The City of Calgary and the Calgary Airport Authority are proposing changes be made to the Noise Exposure Forecast (NEF) contour areas. The proposed amendments will be presented to the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development on September 2. The committee meeting will be webcast live, beginning at 9:30AM on Wednesday, September 2. 

So what does this mean and what are the Noise Exposure Contour Areas?

The Calgary International Airport Vicinity Protection Area Regulation outlines uses that are prohibited within certain locations in Calgary, identified as Noise Exposure Forecast (NEF) areas, due to potential noise impacts from aircraft flying over communities as they arrive or depart.

The current NEF contours have not been reviewed or updated since 1979 and new technology has substantially improved airplane noise. That said, let’s be real about this – airplanes are still noisy. Everyone in Whitehorn who’s ever been woken up at the crack of dawn from a noisy jet can attest to that. As such, it’s important for us as a community to be aware and ask questions when proposed changes can impact us. 

The City of Calgary has provided a map of the current contour areas and the proposed changes; see below:  

Now while this map details the contour areas, it unfortunately makes it difficult to really see how the proposed changes will actually change for neighbourhoods. And so with that in mind, I went ahead and mapped the current NEF contour areas for Whitehorn and compared them to the proposed changes. 

These are the EXISTING NEF contour areas:

And now, let’s take a look at the PROPOSED changes to the NEF contour areas.

Ok, so I know that while that gives you a bit more of an idea of how the contour areas have been shifted, it’s still hard to gauge how much. So in the image below I’ve overlayed the new, proposed changes (yellow & red)) over a black & white version of the existing contour areas. It’s not perfect but hopefully this gives you a better idea of how much they might shift if the proposed changes are accepted. 

So what does this mean for Whitehorn? It’s hard to say. Technology has come a long way and the noise from aircrafts is significantly less intrusive than it was in 1979. That said, I think we can all agree that new technology not withstanding, airplanes are still fairly loud. The proposed changes effectively seem to increase the noise exposure forecast for Whitehorn; how this will play out in real life in terms of increased noise for more of Whitehorn is difficult to say. 

That said, if you have questions or concerns now is your chance to be heard. The proposed amendments will be presented to the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development on September 2, 202 with the meeting being webcast live, beginning at 9:30AM.

Anyone wishing to speak remotely at the meeting is invited to contact the City Clerk’s Office at PublicSubmissions@calgary.ca to register and receive further information. You may also provide written submissions regarding the report using the online Public Submission Form .

For more information about the proposed changes, please visit the AVPA page on The City’s website at https://www.calgary.ca/pda/pd/calgary-land-use-bylaw-1p2007/airport-vicinity-protection-area.html?redirect=/avpa

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