Monday, April 23, 2012

Opinion/Letter: Oshawa airport can accommodate growth without extending runway

To the editor: 

Re: Oshawa airport.

The airport has been a white elephant running at an annual deficit of about half a million annually. Mayor John Henry tried to stop the bleeding and asked his staff what needs to be done to turn this around.

City staff, the airport manager and some of the airport stakeholders recommended extending the main runway so that they could sell more fuel. Currently with the 4,000-foot runway they are limited by weight and subsequently the amount of fuel an aircraft may carry.

Unfortunately, the runway is proposed to be extended approximately 800 feet to the southeast, bringing this within 500 feet of homes on Jane and Glencairn. If this is not illegal it should be immoral. Previous studies stated that the current length of the runway served as a natural barrier for this integrated airport located inside residential neighbourhoods with very little buffer.

Once residents found out what was going on it opened up quite a can of worms for the mayor. Staff should have focused on internal airport efficiencies; things like airport user fees and land values. Are we getting market values? Now we are spending another $25,000 to conduct open houses for residential input. This plays right into the hands of the airport proponents, gives them the opportunity to further brainwash the few who attend, making the neighbours look like NIMBYs, against economic development. They also claim the longer runway is safer. Is it not safe now? Both Buttonville and Toronto Island airport have runways shorter than Oshawa. The current airport can accommodate increased business from the Buttonville closing without extending the runway. Neighbours love the airport the way it is.

In summary we have a special interest group wanting to increase their personal profits by selling more fuel at the expense of extending the runway well into the neighbouring houses with the taxpayer footing the bill.

John Vanderhorst


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