By Gord Mahaffy
COPA Flight 70 would like to thank COPA National President Kevin Psutka for attending one of the open house meetings in Oshawa that was held to present detailed information to the community on the expansion of the Oshawa airport.
Specifically, Kevin was there to support the proposal to extend runway 12/30 from 4,000 feet to 5,000 feet in the hope of attracting more corporate traffic to Oshawa.
In the larger picture, Oshawa would like to change its business model from supporting mostly training flights to a model that balances training with a corporate airport point of entry model which would support local businesses. This has raised the concerns of local residents whose fears have been fanned by an extremely active residents group calling themselves CORE (Concerned Citizens Against Runway Expansion).
As a result, a series of six meetings were arranged by the City of Oshawa to allow the public to question all aspects of the proposed improvements. These included noise issues, safety issues, funding issues and revenue issues.
Airport Manager Steve Wilcox was in constant attendance along with many of the city councilors. Oshawa Mayor John Henry attended several meetings.
On Wednesday, April 17, COPA National President Kevin Psutka made a special flight into Oshawa to attend one of these meetings. He was able to offer moral support to members of COPA Flight 70 who are deeply engaged in the fight to preserve and expand the airport.
As well, Psutka engaged several Oshawa councillors in dialogue and observed that what is happening in Oshawa is becoming a national airport crisis. In summary, the crisis is the expanding growth in housing meeting the expanding need for runways.
It looks like this is a problem that will need federal intervention and leadership before it will be fully solved.