Edmonton's municipal airport finally out of runway with Council's decision
A couple of weeks back we reported on the potential closure of Edmonton's popular downtown airport by City Council. The downtown airport handles smaller aircraft and has become a vital link between Calgary and Edmonton since it was built decades ago. The much larger international airport is located a fair distance south of the city.
By way of an update, we can report that council has now voted to shut down the airport. This is a decision that is not sitting well with the business community who were urging council to keep it open.
Councillor Linda Sloan complained to the Edmonton Journal that she didn't even see the motion until hours before it was to be voted upon. She stated:
I got this motion less than three hours before this hearing. In my mind that’s not good decision making. That’s called governance on the fly.
Councillor Roy Hayter said the meeting was "blatantly unfair" as those being impacted by the decision wouldn't have time to speak to council.
Council also approved that immediate consultation be undertaken with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (they sit next to the airport) to determine what expansion plans might be feasible.
The closure is not imminent, and will happen over the course of several years. Of course, a future council could overturn this decision if they take power before the airport is completely shut down.
Edmonton Mayor Mandel was a supporter of the closure and said that council struck a "fairly good balance."
The Journal also reports that the motion supported by council will entail the following:
- Determine the parcels of lands adjacent to runway 16-34, which is suggested to be closed, which can be surrendered to the city once air services on this runway end.
- Conduct an environmental analysis on the lands.
- Work with ongoing users to mitigate impacts, ease immediate transitions and develop a suitable business plan to operate the airport until a final closure date is determined.
- Administration should develop new plans for the NAIT LRT based on lands currently impacted by the runway that is suggested to be closed.
- Work to facilitate Medevac operations at the international airport or other regional airports before a final closure date is set.
As I wrote earlier, I think it's a big mistake for council to shut down a vital transportation hub that serviced the Calgary/Edmonton corridor. Once it's gone, you'll never see anything like it again.