Mixed feelings rise over IPE choppers

Helicopter rides offered during the Interior Province Exhibition have made some Armstrong residents upset

Helicopter rides offered during the Interior Province Exhibition have made some Armstrong residents upset.

Council has received a handful of letters and verbal complaints about the $45 rides offered during all five days of the fair by Kelowna-based Valhalla Helicopters.

“There have been some concerns from the community about the excessive noise created from the helicopter riders,” said acting Armstrong Mayor Ryan Nitchie.

One resident, in a letter to the IPE, likened the five days of helicopter noise “more suited to a war zone than an agricultural fair.”

IPE general manager Bryan Burns acknowledged the complaints, but added there were far more positive comments than negative ones.

It was the first time helicopter rides had been offered at the IPE.

Take-off and landing was outside the fair grounds, at Highland Park Elementary School.

Flights were approximately 10 minutes in duration.

The helicopter company paid a $480 vendor fee to the IPE, the same as any other vendor, and contributed a photography flight for the IPE to take aerial photos of the grounds.

Burns said Valhalla Helicopters has also offered rides at this year’s Lumby Days and Westside (West Kelowna) Days celebration.

Armstrong council has asked city staff to consult with the IPE management board to obtain more information on the situation.