The 35-year fight over a Pickering Airport seems to be coming to an end. The federal government’s recent announcement about expansion of the Rouge River National Park means that the land once slated for an airport is now set for “trails, campgrounds, and other outdoor activities.”
The airport opposition group, Land Over Landings, attended a meeting on July 13 during which the prime minister announced an extra 21 square kilometres for the expansion. On July 18, Land Over Landings attended as second meeting where Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced that the federal government would be publishing new zoning regulations to provide for the park. In announcing the zoning regs change, Transport Canada will be looking at the Greater Golden Horseshoe needs.
According to notes from the meeting, Ms Raitt said, “There is a need to know if we have the air infrastructure we should have, and whether there is a business case for a future airport..” If only Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA) expansion were given the same consideration.
Transport Canada, Ms Raitt and their agency PortsToronto may wish to see if the planned BBTCA expansion falls under ‘the air infrastructure we should have’. They may also wish to conduct a peer-reviewed, rigorous business case study for expansion.
However, due to its location Transport Canada, Ms Raitt and their agency PortsToronto are not likely to give BBTCA the same consideration.
The prime minister made the park expansion announcement in Pickering where Ajax-Pickering MP, Chris Alexander will stand for re-election in the fall. On the other hand, BBTCA is in a downtown Toronto riding where the Conservatives haven’t held the seat since 1993.