Edmonton City Centre Airport Debate: Resources

We’re down to the final stages of the City Centre Airport review process. If you haven’t taken the time to educate yourself on the issue, the time is now.

Here are the reports that were released last week:

  • Airport Legal Review and Analysis (Attachment 1 in this PDF)
  • Airport Lands Net Revenue Review (Attachment 3 in this PDF)
  • The Airport Lands Impact Assessment Final Report (PDF)
  • The Medevac Transport Report (PDF)
  • The Historical Impact Assessment Report (PDF)
  • The Economic Impact Analysis (PDF)
  • The Public Involvement Plan Results (PDF)

The Alberta Enterprise Group (AEG) posted a response to the reports here.

The big report is the Airport Lands Impact Assessment, at 299 pages. Here’s a Wordle of that report:

Here are some highlights from the various report conclusions:

  • “The planning of ambulance services is dependent on many local factors such as availability of resources, both financial and personnel; regional density of populations; road condition and geographic variations; and so forth. Clinically, outcomes for trauma and medical patients are mainly impacted by the services available rather than by type of transport.”
  • “The City Centre Airport ranks with the Rossdale site and the provincial government precinct as among the three most significant historical locations in the City of Edmonton. As such everything possible should be done to acknowledge that fact through commemorative and interpretive initiatives.”
  • “Redevelopment of the ECCA, as defined in the Demonstration Plan, would result in the equivalent of a net tax saving to the City of Edmonton. The value of redeveloping the ECCA Lands is, in aggregate, a net benefit to the City of Edmonton’s financial position.”
  • “Based on the review completed, the redevelopment of the ECCA Lands into a new residential and employment based neighbourhood represents a significant opportunity for the City to achieve established long term visions regarding sustainable development and a more compact urban form. The redevelopment of the ECCA Lands could allow for the development of a new urban community with transit as its centrepiece.”

There will be a public hearing on Wednesday (and Thursday/Friday if necessary):

What: Public Hearing on the City Centre Airport (Agenda in Word)
When: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 from 9:30am to 5:30pm
Where: City Hall
Request to Speak: Fill out this form to speak.

The next step is for any recommendations to be reviewed by Council on July 10, 2009. Don’t forget that you can watch or listen to Council and Committee meetings live online.

The City’s portal for the City Centre Airport Review contains a bunch of additional information and links, so be sure to check it out. There’s also some info at the Public Involvement site.

[geo_mashup_map height=”250″ width=”500″ zoom=”13″ add_overview_control=”false” add_map_type_control=”false”]

Here are some social media resources:

Some other stuff to read:

Lorne Gunter wrote a great article in Sunday’s Edmonton Journal: Muni is not ‘my’ airport. For some predictions on Council’s vote, check out Scott McKeen’s piece from yesterday’s Journal. He’s betting that Council will vote to close the airport. Also – you’ve got to look at this photo of Councillor Tony Caterina on the tarmac of the City Centre Airport. And finally, you might find my post (from May) about the ECCA debate on Twitter interesting.

For the latest news, check out #ecca on Twitter Search.

As you’ve perhaps figured out by now, I’m in favor of closing the City Centre Airport. I don’t feel that keeping the status quo is compatible with making Edmonton a more sustainable, vibrant city, and moving passenger service back to the muni isn’t possible. There is an opportunity to redevelop the lands however, and I think the City should act on that now before the opportunity passes us by.

Let’s close the City Centre Airport and move on.

UPDATE: Edmonton Airports has compiled a number of briefing notes related to the airport for presentation at the public hearings. (PDF)

The Edmonton City Centre Airport debate on Twitter

Edmontonians have been debating the future of the Edmonton City Centre Airport (the “Muni”) for years. With a “final” decision expected next month, the amount of discussion has definitely increased lately. As part of my own research into the subject, I turned to Twitter. I’d like to share with you what I found.

I started with a data set consisting of all tweets posted by local users in 2009 that contained either the word “airport”, the hashtag #ecca, or both. From January 1st until May 11th, a total of 852 tweets matched that criteria. Next, I narrowed that data set down to tweets specifically about the City Centre Airport. I ended up with 225 tweets in total. Obviously this data set doesn’t include all tweets that might be about the airport, but I’d say it’s fairly representative.

The first thing I wanted to look at was the general sentiment among local Twitter users. Should the airport be closed or not? This required manually looking at each of 225 tweets and making a judgment call. To clarify, here’s an example of each:

  • Pro-Airport:dmac666: ATCO: We need the airport,  #ECCA keeps edmonton competitive. #yeg http://tinyurl.com/cusb9f”
  • Pro-Closure:eglinski: Shut down the Edmonton City Centre Airport. Please. #yeg #citycentreairport #ABLeg”
  • N/A:Carywill: Anyone know if there are websites that present the case for closing of #citycenterairport? #yeg”

Here’s what I found:

Anecdotally, these results seem accurate. The debate seems fairly balanced in the media and “on the street” in that there are roughly equal numbers on either side, so it should be that way on Twitter too.

Next, I looked at the quantity of tweets per month:

As you can see there was a big jump in April, and I suspect May will be close when all is said and done. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s a drop off in July.

Next, I wanted to know what people were linking to. There were 57 links inside the 225 tweets in the data set. Here are the top destinations:

Curiously, there weren’t many blogs in the results. I wonder if that will start to change?

Finally, here are the top ten tweeters (most tweets first): Carywill, dmac666, DebraWard, journalistjeff, AB_get_rich, davecournoyer, CityofEdmonton, michaeljanz, jdarrah, edmontonjournal.

Interesting data? Maybe. The ability to explore sentiments regarding local issues is of particular interest to me, and I’m going to look into that further in the months ahead.

Soon I’ll write up what I’ve learned and what my thoughts are on the ECCA issue.