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.

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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)

Edmonton Notes for 6/20/2009

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Edmonton Notes for 6/13/2009

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Edmonton Notes for 6/7/2009

Travel has put a wrinkle in these posts for the last few weeks – all should be back to normal soon! Here are some Edmonton notes for this week:

Edmonton Notes for 5/30/2009

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Edmonton Notes for 5/16/2009

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Edmonton Notes for 5/9/2009

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Edmonton Notes for 5/2/2009

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Edmonton Notes for 4/25/2009

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

You’re asking the wrong question

Last week’s issue of SEE Magazine was a “theme” issue, focusing on the future of the media industry (“print in peril”). In addition to this interesting article, there was a panel comprised of four local newspeople with lots of experience: Linda Hughes (U of A, formerly Edmonton Journal), Ron Wilson (CBC), Jeremy Lye (iNews880), and Roy Wood (MacEwan, formerly Edmonton Journal). They discussed a range of things, including the fact that the industry didn’t develop these problems overnight. The general consensus is that journalism is important, but what it looks like in the future is up in the air.

Of course, you can’t have an article on the future of media without asking who’s going to write about City Council, and the panel didn’t disappoint! Linda Hughes asks:

But with breaking news and local-level news, who is going to go sit in a courtroom all day for a three-paragraph story that is important to know about but isn’t sexy and is just part of the pubic discourse? Who is going to do that? Bloggers often provide a lot of insight, but most bloggers are not going to go to sit in city council committee meetings for five hours to keep track of what city council is doing.

Ask a sports writer about the future of news and he’ll probably use this defense, even though he never sets foot inside City Hall! It’s the easy way out, and it’s an incredibly common response lately from journalists in the hot seat. To make things worse, SEE asked the question again later in the piece:

If newspapers and mass media outlets do dwindle, then, who will be the watchdogs in society to ensure politicians don’t run wild? Who will pay for the investigative reporters who can zero in on one thing for months and all of a sudden have the biggest story of the year?

Sigh. There will still be passionate individuals who follow specific topics and do investigative reporting. Probably more now than ever thanks to easy publishing systems (blogs, wikis, Twitter, etc). And they’ll produce much more interesting content than someone who does it just because they get paid to.

Let’s ignore that argument for a minute, however. Asking how to pay a journalist to sit through meetings to get three paragraphs is still the wrong question!

The real question is, why have we ever had to pay someone to sit through five hours of City Council committee meetings? Let’s get rid of that absurd need altogether and this discussion becomes irrelevant.

This is why I’m so excited about ChangeCamp and the possibilities it represents. If we can change the way our government communicates with us, the need for a newspaper filter could go away altogether.

Let’s focus less on how we’re going to pay a journalist to sit with Council all day and more on how we can get Council to communicate with us in a meaningful way. If we can do that, the journalist will have much better things to cover!