LA resident recently wrote a letter complaining that he ``now suffers terribly from noise of both fixed wing aircraft and the helicopters during the tourist season.'' I too am a local resident but unlike the letter writer, I am not the least bit bothered by the helicopters that routinely fly over my house.
According to the public opinion surveys that have been conducted, noise is a genuine problem for about 30 percent of the public and not a problem for the majority of Juneau residents.
In conjunction with the Tourism Advisory Committee, the city has held several public hearings on the issue of flightseeing noise. Regardless of how many people show up to complain, it is important to remember that the majority of Juneau residents who are not bothered by flightseeing simply don't go to a public meeting to tell the city that something is not a problem.
As one of two visitor industry members on the nine-member Tourism Advisory Committee, I can assure you that the TAC is not ``holding hands with operators.''
The TAC and the helicopter operators have worked long and hard on this issue that in my opinion, 1) is not a community-wide problem and 2) is not a simple issue to solve.
Since last September, the flightseeing operators have met weekly to brainstorm solutions to reduce the noise. They have agreed to additional ``voluntary compliance'' measures; they are in the process of altering routes and altitudes; satellite heliports are being considered as a result of one of the public meetings, and the operators are investigating new ``quiet technology.''
Flightseeing contributes substantially to the local economy and employs hundreds of residents every season, many of them Juneau students home from college. A tremendous amount of time and effort has gone into reducing the impact of noise on those who are bothered. Please don't discourage those efforts or future efforts by unfair attacks on the operators, TAC or CBJ officials who are dedicated to improving everyone's quality of life.
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