By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Friday November 2, 2012
Flying over Hamilton in a counterterrorism chopper
Downtown councillor Jason Farr says he’s been given assurances by the military that he and other councillors will be told of training exercises in advance of them happening so he can prepare his constituents for disturbances.
Farr made the comment Wednesday night after receiving dozens of complaints from residents over an exercise by a helicopter squadron buzzing the former Stelco Tower on King Street West in the downtown core Tuesday evening.
He initially called for the 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron to halt the operation “immediately” because of the complaints, but has accepted it continuing. The squadron is set to take part in the exercise Thursday night after cancelling Wednesday night due to the weather.
“I am pleased that the folks involved in this operation have assured me there will be better communication well in advance of any training exercise,” Farr said.
“That to me is key. They have reassured me that in the future there will be much better communication, much earlier when these training exercises occur.”
The training over the Stelco Tower caused all kinds of consternation, even though it had been publicized in The Hamilton Spectator. Farr said he received about 40 complaints. He said he heard from “old ladies who were scared, children trying to sleep. It was the whole bit. Some of them were very irate.”
Mayor Bob Bratina was happy with the event and noted Hamilton’s ties to the military.
“I’m proud we can host an exercise like this,” he told reporters. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)