Tech & Science

Transport Canada launches another study about an airport for Pickering, Ont.

It has been debated for decades in Pickering, Ontario. Airport or farming?

Transport Canada has also launched another study into the feasibility of the idea.

But not everyone, including Pickering resident Mary Delaney, thinks the concept should be a reality.

“If there was a business case, they would have built it,” she said, noting thousands of acres that would be part of the plan.

This isn’t the first time an investigation has been conducted, but after years of fighting as part of Land Over Landings, Delaney hopes it will be the last.

She says land is key to helping with the food crisis.

“This is an oasis of chaotic seas, and the land of food, especially the best farmland out there,” Delaney says. “Class 1 soil is important. (a) It is a non-renewable resource.”

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Federal property was secured by the government of Pierre Trudeau in 1972, along with the lands of Markham and Uxbridge.

The plan was to build an airport. However, the plan was scrapped after a backlash from the public and grassroots groups like Land over Landings.

Transport Canada issues an RFP to investigate the feasibility of Pickering’s airport.

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The remaining land in Markham was given to Parks Canada to help create Rouge National Park. This is the same as the Uxbridge property. However, Pickering has been put aside since that time.

Delaney says the land is an important piece of agricultural land for the area.

Durham Regional Chair John Henry supports any decision and says the time has come to make a decision.

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“I can’t think of any other item that took 50 years to make a decision,” he says.

Henry says there are arguments on both sides.

“I think these lands should be cultivated all year round and that includes indoor farming,” says Henry.

“So there’s a lot we can do with those lands and create a happy medium for everyone,” he says.

“There are ways to make the aerospace community thrive and farming thrive.”

Pickering has 9,600 acres of land, with perhaps 4,000 acres available for an airport.

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Fiaz Jadoon is Director of Economic Development and Strategic Projects for the City of Pickering.

He said the airport can serve both industrial and commercial businesses. This could mean billions of dollars.

“When the site is fully built, we can expect $5 billion to $10 billion in economic growth,” says Jadoon.

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This is just three years after the report from KPMG International. The company was hired by the federal government in 2020 to undergo a thorough overhaul.

But the study, which looked at a variety of factors, found that existing airports in southwestern Ontario can handle capacity through at least 2036.

Click to play video: 'Durham, pickering airport preferred'

Durham prefers Pickering Airport

Now Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Al-Ghabra tweeted that he hopes to make a final decision, stating:

“We do not intend to build an airport in Pickering Land in the short term. We will evaluate the capacity of the southern Ontario airport and make a final decision, and that process will result in a landless decision in the long term. may be.”

That’s what supporters like Delaney expect.

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“I have high hopes that this will be the last study,” says Delaney.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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