Thursday, January 26, 2012

Runway extension process soars to new heights

In order to provide more opportunity for public input on the Oshawa Municipal Airport’s proposed 1,000-foot runway extension, City staff has recommended an in depth process filled with public meetings and information sessions.

At a recent Development Services Committee meeting, several recommendations were outlined to streamline the public consultation process, including $25,000 to pay for advertising, venue rental and consultant attendance. This cost could come out of the, “2012 contingency and transferred to the project in the event it is approved.”

A previous public meeting in December on the issue was postponed due to large public turnout, which prompted staff to look into more public feedback options. Many residents are for the proposed extension, while others who live near the airport, are concerned about noise and other safety matters.

The recommendations state that staff would hold three evening and three afternoon public open house sessions in a drop-in style format at a large off-site venue. During these sessions airport staff and the City’s aviation consultants would be on hand to answer questions from the public.

A formal public meeting would also be scheduled at a large venue during the evening to discuss issues raised during the open houses. From there, a staff report would be prepared to consider the issue further.

Specific venues and dates are still to be decided and these recommendations do need final approval from council.

One avenue that will not be discussed at these meetings is the “attraction of a scheduled airline services to the airport.”

According to staff, this issue will “not be pursued or promoted, and, further, that in the event a scheduled airline service expresses an interest in the future that it be required to specify the proposed nature of its activities (size of planes, frequency and time of flights, noise impacts etc.).”

This recommendation comes after a flyer, which was not from City Hall or from the airport, was handed out prior to the December meeting stating that large planes, possibly 747s, could be landing at the airport.

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