Letter to City Council regarding the City Centre Airport

Here’s my letter to Council:

Dear Mayor Mandel and Councillors:

I listened to the public hearings on the City Centre Airport Lands last week with great interest. You heard from a large number of Edmontonians and received a great deal of information related to the airport. Unfortunately, the only thing that everyone could agree upon was that the status quo at the City Centre Airport is untenable. Which leaves two options: expand scheduled service, or close the airport.

Except that expanding scheduled service is not a viable option. There is no evidence to support the notion that Edmonton as a whole would benefit from faux-competition between the City Centre Airport and the Edmonton International Airport. In fact, expanding scheduled service would almost certainly be detrimental to both airports, and therefore to the city.

The only rational, responsible decision is to close the airport.

The arguments you have heard against this decision are flawed. Medevac patients would not be affected by closure as time critical patients could be accommodated at other facilities. Few would be inconvenienced by travel delays – the Villeneuve Airport is just ten minutes further from Downtown Edmonton than the Springbank Airport is from Downtown Calgary. Most of the economic activity facilitated by the airport would not disappear, but would instead shift. There is absolutely no factual basis for the assertion that closing the City Centre Airport would negatively affect Edmonton’s economy, let alone affect it more than the loss of one of our major sports teams.

Closing the City Centre Airport is an incredible opportunity. Removing the height restrictions of the Outer Surface will help to re-invigorate our downtown. Expansion of the existing NAIT campus will remove the need for that institution to build elsewhere, helping to curb urban sprawl. Intensification of the airport lands is wholly consistent with the City of Edmonton’s Strategic Plan and vision for the future. Importantly, this can be accomplished while celebrating the historical significance of Blatchford Field. Our city has a rare chance to build a transit-oriented community on the airport lands that is integrated, livable, innovative, and sustainable.

I urge you to vote in favour of closing the City Centre Airport.

Thank you.

Contact your City Councillors to let them know what you think about the City Centre Airport.

  • I’ve been on the fence for a while on this. The nostalgia and that feeling of unused potential has always made me want to see it revitalized, but it’s not going to happen. There would have been a strong, unified, industry push by now if that were viable, and there has not been. Let’s move on, close it down, and watch the magic that will come over downtown Edmonton. Le’t start fighting for a really tall tower, something that has been an impossibility because of the present situation.

    -Jerry

  • Bruce Winter

    Astute insight Mack. The debate is and always has been about entitlement. A small coterie of business men, supposed community leaders, have held the community hostage to a vision of the past, that vanished long ago. That part of the debate has been rather sad.

    However, it is encouraging that those you represent can articulate a new vision. It may still take awhile for those who control things, now, to accept a changing of the guard in this berg. Entitlement is difficult to give up.

    The politics of the issue is critical too. It is quid pro quo agendas and alliance building that determines the outcome of these issues. Basically, who owes who for other votes,on other issues. Doing the right thing, is a foreign concept, when it comes to politics.

    Don’t bet the house, ECCA will be closed.

  • Excellent Mack. As I have listened as well vicariously through your reports and Tweets I know I could not have said it better.
    If it’s ok with you Mack I would like cut and paste your letter and send it to my council-persons with my own sig file attached.
    Please let me know if you have any objection.
    Richard

  • Thanks for your comments Jerry & Bruce.

    Richard – Thanks. I’d prefer if you didn’t cut/paste the letter word-for-word, actually. Feel free to use parts of it though. Actually, check back in the morning…I’ll have something you can use 🙂

  • There’s a letter template here:
    http://www.notmyairport.ca/contact-council/

  • Paul

    You forgot one other option that many governments seem to love and that is the compromise that makes everyone upset. Please urge them to not try to find some partial solution like closing one runway and keeping the airport open for private planes and medivac flights.

  • Yeah that’s a good point Paul. We need to put this issue behind us, and a partial decision won’t do that.

  • Thanks for the template and contact lists etc Mack. It’s well written and much appreciated.
    Letters have been sent to both the Mayor and to my representing councilors.
    Let’s hope we can sway some votes before it’s too late.