Burkeville Science


Just when you thought it was fun to go out and play! Science tells us that living near an airport can be deadly.


A report by CBC noted that:

Two studies published in Wednesday’s British Medical Journal offered “preliminary evidence that aircraft noise exposure is not just a cause of annoyance, sleep disturbance and reduced quality of life but may also increase morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease



Here in Vancouver – well actually it is Richmond, just south and across a bridge from Vancouver there is tucked in behind Vancouver’s International Airport a little neighbourhood called Burkeville. It has narrow curved streets named after airplanes and airplane companies. There is Lancaster Crescent, Lysander Lane, Catalina Crescent, Wellington Crescent and Boeing Avenue. On its southern end it has the Flight Path Park – a great place to watch jetliners fly so close you can smell the burning JetB fuel, feel the heat of the engine exhaust and count the rivets on the underbelly of the aeroplane.


According to the Richmond Planning Department
The primary heritage value of Burkeville lies in its historical development as a planned community constructed by the federal government’s Wartime Housing Plan to accommodate workers at Boeing Aircraft of Canada Ltd. During the war, significant housing shortages arose as workers arrived to supply the aircraft and munitions plants located at the South Terminal. Burkeville’s aesthetic value is reflected in its distinctive settlement form of curved streets which follow the land, a variety of lot sizes, and its wartime bungalow housing styles. Its appearance results both from community development based on necessity, and from the use of the best planning practices of the time which give the neighbourhood a garden suburb appearance. The architectural forms of four and six room dwellings express the need for modest and utilitarian, yet comfortable, homes, with styles the result of conscious decision-making on the part of the planners. Domestic gardens reflect the individual owners, while street trees were planted later under a Local Improvement Plan. Social values are reflected in the symbolic connections of the initial close-knit community of aircraft plant workers bound by common goals and a sense of patriotism during World War II with the active residential community and unique sense of place that exist there today.

No Science

Burkeville has been around a long time. Many people both past and present live there with their children and seem content to do so. Other than this latest report there is little science at least to my knowledge, to confirm that the peoples of Burkeville suffer from ailments described in the Medical Journal.

A Nice Place to Live

I have visited Burkeville and I’ve heard the quiet hum of Vancouver’s busy international airport. During my short visit it didn’t strike me as threatening to my good health as proclaimed. For me at least, the sound of a barking dog at night is more annoying, stressful and definitively reduces my quality of life.

Photo credit: Ecstaticist on Flickr

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