Fri 10th Sep 2010

Will the flight safety hazard of the Stubbs Bay high cliff render Argyle airport unable to qualify for a civil aviation licence to operate passenger aircrafts?

The Stubbs Bay end of the flawed Argyle airport project has a considerably high cliff face. There is much concern that this high cliff face is a major flight safety hazard during the final phase of approach for landing in heavy winds or rainy conditions. This flight safety hazard may ultimately render the Argyle airport unable to qualify for a civil aviation licence to operate passenger aircrafts.

SVG Green Party is making a strong call in the public's interest to (International Airport Development Company) IADC to disclose to the public the height of the cliff at Stubbs Bay. The public have a right to know if the high cliff face contravenes compliance with (International Civil Aviation Organisation) ICAO safety regulations for landing and take-off under all weather conditions.

There are concerns that the proposed runway orientation by the consultant of south/north 02/20 (p.34 of report), has been substantially changed to 04/22 without public knowledge. SVG Green Party calls for a new consultant safety report in light of the substantial change in the runway orientation from 02/20 to 04/22 in terms of the crosswinds and Stubbs bay high cliff.

Also the report (p.73) raises concerns about 'frequent gutsy crosswinds'. A minimum of 5 years wind data is needed, but as yet no wind measurements have been published for the public. One wonders whether they are being done, especially with regard to the altered runway direction. This data is important as landings and take-offs need to be assessed and evaluated to consider risks and check compliance with ICAO safety regulations.

The IADC's consultant report (p.219) states that 'bird strike is a realistic risk in the Mt. Pleasant and Argyle area, especially with regard to the abundance of cattle egrets and lizards on which these birds mainly feed'.

The type of fuel used by high altitude aircrafts will seriously pollute the John Hill and Majorca water intakes in the Mespo valley. These water intakes supply Mespo and Kingstown with drinking water. Aviation fuel pollution from high altitude jumbo jets will cause serious long-term damage to the vegetation in Bequia and all the Grenadines.

A major concern in the report (p.156) is that the most crucial elements of the Argyle Master Plan, i.e. a detailed forecast of the expected air traffic and aircraft mix as well as induced road traffic, are not currently available. The ULP regime is flying blind into a billion dollar project that will devastate our country and put many lives at risk.

The justification for the airport (p.18) was to replace the banana industry and help rural employment. This argument is weak and does not justify the airport. A fish industry and agro-processing would be better for the economy, create more revenue and create more jobs.

It is not too late to abandon the dangerous Argyle airport project in the interest of flight safety and the safety of Vincentians living near the proposed site. It is clear that Argyle airport will impact negatively on SVG. Still, no research has been published to suggest the airport will be good financially for the SVG Treasury.

We look forward to a public response from IADC about these concerns.

Vote Green for prosperity.

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