By Kevin Psutka
Mascouche Airport CSK3 is located on the east side of Montreal. Home to more than 120 aircraft, flight schools and employing 70 people, CSK3 fills a vital role for air transportation, training and recreation in Montreal.
However, the status of the property on which it sits is being changed and the decision-makers at the municipal and provincial level have no interest in the airport’s existence.
CSK3 dates back to the 1980s when land that was excess to requirements for an autoroute was given to the municipality with the provision that it be used for public purposes.
The municipal government at the time enthusiastically encouraged the development of an airport and in fact sold lots to various purchasers (all aviation oriented) with the express condition that these lots be used only for municipal purposes and for use in the context of the Mascouche Airport, which was indentified in the deeds as a municipal project.
In 2002 the Mayor decided to sell the land. Since that time there have been several interventions, including from COPA, to remind the Mayor as well as the provincial government of their agreement that the land be used for public purposes.
Most recently, the provincial government has stated that their only interest in the land is that they receive appropriate compensation if the land is sold or put to some non-public purpose. The two parties are in negotiation with the intention of selling the land for non-aviation purposes. In a letter to the Quebec Minister of Transport I urged the Minister to think beyond the financial compensation issue to the broader public interest. There are jobs at stake and the vital role that this airport plays as part of the air transportation infrastructure and flight training should not be permitted to disappear, especially with the pressure that St Hubert, the other major GA airport, is facing.
A copy of the letter was sent to the federal Transport Minister to urge him to intervene and also to point out that this is yet another illustration of the very serious threats that exist to the air transportation infrastructure because of the lack of a policy that would protect this sector of aviation.
Toronto (Buttonville) and Edmonton (City Centre and Cooking Lake) are other major centres of GA activity whose future is very uncertain.
COPA will continue its efforts to sensitize the various levels of government to the need for intervention and protection of our national airport infrastructure. You can find the letters and other background information on our website: www.copanational.org.