Even in these strange times, winter slowly, inexorably drips into spring on the Federal Lands. So, too, grinds on the business of government as any possibility of an airport – or aerotropolis – on the Lands fades away to nothing.
It was two and a half years ago that Pickering Council slipped support for an airport into a bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. It was the first and only time since 1972 that Pickering had not been opposed to an airport on the Federal Lands. Concerned by this, Councillor Maurice Brenner gave direction to Staff to alter the bid to state that such support was “subject to the results identified in” the KPMG Study (the Pickering Lands Aviation Sector Analysis, 2016-2036).
We all now know the main conclusion of that Study, released on March 5: no new airport will be needed to meet 2036 demand and, with modest expansions of some existing airports, southern Ontario’s 2036 airport capacity will exceed by a huge margin the forecasted 2036 demand. The City’s conditional support for an airport is therefore “null and void,” says Councillor Brenner.
He wants to see, instead, an end to promotion of an airport or aerotropolis, and a refocus of the City‘s energy and money on a realistic and timely goal – making sure that Pickering becomes a stop on the upgraded Havelock rail line that today runs right through the Federal Lands and is planned to provide Toronto-Ottawa passenger service.
At the March 18 meeting of Council, Brenner directed the CAO and the Director of Economic Development & Strategic Projects to “shift their priorities quickly, from things like aerotropolis and all the rest of it and now shift it to transit and rail service in our City of Pickering.” He reminded staff and Council that pushing for a stop on the rail line is critical now, as engineering drawings will soon be underway. “[Transport Canada] have identified a few stations as examples but they’ve left the door open to dialogue with host municipalities as to where those stations can be. Currently, the City of Pickering is not listed as a station but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be a station,“ said Brenner, adding that such a station in Pickering, on Hwy 7, could service the employment lands, provide access to the national park, and make a major contribution to the local economy.
Staff were asked to adjust the strategic plan accordingly. There was no opposition from any member of Council.
You can find the video here: March 18, 2020 Special Council Meeting (Start at minute 45.00)Given the conclusion of the KMPG Study, the @CityofPickering's conditional support for an airport is therefore “null and void,” says Councillor Brenner. Click To Tweet