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Board calls for release of Needs Assessment Study

Posted 12 years ago on · Permalink

Call to Release 2009 Greater Toronto Airports Authority Needs Assessment Study
(The letter is attached below for download in it’s original format, in a pdf file)

Nov. 12, 2010

The Honourable Chuck Strahl
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Tower C – 330 Sparks St.
Ottawa, Ontario,
K1A 0N5

Dear Minister Strahl:

The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade would like to take this opportunity to express its support and congratulations to you as you take on the important and significant role of Canada’s Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

We’re certain you are very busy familiarizing yourself with the many issues in your ministry, and the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade would like to bring to your attention our continuing effort to press your government for the release of the Needs Assessment Study, conducted by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) in 2009, evaluating the airport needs for Ontario, specifically related to the Pickering Airport Lands.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) announced on May 19, 2010, in a meeting with Durham Region’s planning committee, that the study is in the hands of Transport Canada and officials said that any decision on the future of the lands will be your ministry’s to make.

As the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade has stated on many occasions, the federally owned land in the northern reaches of Pickering have been plagued by unacceptable delays for four decades and we continue to respectfully call upon the Federal Government to expedite this process. Initially scheduled to be in the hands of the public before the end of 2009, it is now November, 2010 and we still await the release of the study.

Regardless of what is decided and what results and conclusions are revealed by this Needs Assessment Study, the report must be released as soon as possible. Due to the uncertainty of what the future holds for this community, as it relates to our residents, the business community and our future municipal and provincial infrastructure planning, the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade – the voice of business in our community – is calling upon the Government of Canada to eliminate any further delays in vetting the study and releasing it to the public.

In Pickering for example, important planning decisions are being made right now for future infrastructure needs. These decisions are made very difficult without a clear understanding of what the future holds for the Pickering Airport Lands.

While we understand that this issue deserves thorough study and debate, we would find it difficult to believe that the related analysis could not be completed by now, particularly given the exhaustive research that has already been completed. Your timely actions will play a large role in establishing an economically vibrant future for developments in our communities, such as the extensive Pickering’s Seaton Lands project the Board of Trade supports. Each and every delay in a decision concerning the use of the federal Pickering airport lands represents a significant economic loss to our community, whether an airport is built or not. A decision on the use of this land would provide an undeniable source of economic stimulus and provide an opportunity for proactive and prudent planning for infrastructure needs in the Seaton Lands.

As business leaders we rely on long-term planning to establish the transportation infrastructure that will allow us to move goods and employees as effectively as possible. But we may also be running out of time to address congestion in the Greater Toronto Area. If an airport is not built in Pickering, we need to know about the alternatives that will address the transportation-related challenges that we face.

Toronto Buttonville Municipal Airport will be closed in the near future and the Oshawa Municipal Airport is restricted in its ability to expand due to limited geography. As well, Pearson International Airport’s Master Plan suggests that Canada’s largest airport will reach its capacity of 54 million passengers between 2017 and 2023 – and a 1991 study indicated that it would take a full decade to develop an airport in Pickering.

If Pearson International Airport is allowed to reach its capacity before a solution is found, we know that travellers will be plagued by delays and traffic chaos in the transportation corridors that lead through the Greater Toronto Area. That would have an economic impact on every business in Durham Region and beyond. For the sake of our economy, we ask you to demonstrate the leadership that will determine an ultimate use for the land that the federal government expropriated so many decades ago.

As always, we thank you for your consideration, and remain hopeful of the opportunity to participate in discussions about the future of this project. We would like to cordially invite you or members of your staff to attend a meeting of the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade’s Government Relations Committee to further discuss these issues.


Jason Cameron, 2010 President, Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade
CC:     The Right Honourable Stephen Harper,
Prime Minister
The Honourable James M. Flaherty,
Minister of Finance
The Honourable Dalton McGuinty,
Premier of Ontario
The Honourable Bob Chiarelli
Minister of Infrastructure
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne,
Minister of Transportation
Mark Holland, MP Ajax-Pickering
The Honourable Dan McTeague,
MP Pickering-Scarborough East
The Honourable Bev Oda, MP Durham
Colin Carrie, MP Oshawa
Wayne Arthurs, MPP
Pickering – Scarborough East
Joe Dickson, MPP Ajax-Pickering
Jerry Ouellette, MPP Oshawa
John O’Toole, MPP Durham
Christine Elliott, MPP Whitby-Oshawa
Tim Hudak, Leader of the Official Opposition
Roger Anderson, Regional Chair of Durham
Mayor Steve Parish, Town of Ajax
Mayor Dave Ryan, City of Pickering
Gary Cubitt, CAO, Region of Durham
C. Curtis, Commissioner of Works,
Region of Durham