The Canadian Warplane
Vintage Wings of Canada's Hawk One
Part of the line-up, which was as long
John Chalmers wrote and sent the following letter and photos to the City of Edmonton mayor and city councillors regarding the closure of Edmonton City Centre Airport.
I wonder how many members of city council came to the Alberta Aviation Museum when the museum was visited by two very important aircraft during Aviation Heritage Week?
First was Hawk One, a restored F-86 Sabre jet fighter, painted in the colors of the famous RCAF Golden Hawks aerobatic team, which operated from 1959 - 1964.
Next, on the weekend the Museum was host to the Lancaster bomber from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, one of only two Lancasters still flying, of 7,377 built for the Second World War.
Our city, our airport, and our museum were privileged to have these two special aircraft here as part of the celebrations of the Centennial of Flight in Canada. Yet your regrettable decision to close the airport would not only deprive Edmontonians of the most historic airport in Canada, but an airport which continues to serve as an operating facility. Our city has the great good fortune to have City Centre Airport, and one of the best aviation museums in Canada adjacent to an airport, where aspects of aviation can be made readily available to members of the public - the taxpayers and voters who support this city.
Had you attended the special events last week and seen the long line-ups of Edmontonians and out-of-town visitors, you would have heard their opinions on what the airport means to them and what they think of your decision to close it. One person said to me, "Who does City Council think they are? They have no right to close the airport. It does not belong to them, it belongs to us, the citizens of Edmonton."
Closure of the airport will end air service from the city, which can not be replaced by either the Edmonton International Airport or the small airports near the city such as those at Villeneuve and Josephburg.
Closure will also put an end to the visits of special aircraft to our city. From morning until night last weekend, visitors to the aviation museum waited patiently to have the rare opportunity to climb into one of the great bombers of the Second World War and take a tour through it.
How ironic it is that in this year marking the Centennial of Flight in Canada, Edmonton's city council has voted to mark the event by voting to close the airport.
Visitors had the thrilling opportunity to see Hawk One and the Lancaster land and take off from an airport which is such a rich part of Edmonton's history and character. You should be deeply ashamed for your decision to destroy the airport for purely commercial reasons and when so many unknown factors are involved in making such a decision.
I would like to think there is still hope that your decision will be rescinded. At least for now, there are three councillors who opposed closure.