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General Aviation in Edmonton is severely threatened


Since my July column on the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA) there have been a few significant developments.

In late June the Edmonton City Council held a public hearing to allow interested parties to present five-minute arguments for or against Council’s plan to close the ECCA. Approximately 90 per cent spoke in favour of keeping the airport open and presented data to support that.

Two weeks later the Edmonton City Council voted 10-3 in favour of a staged closure of the airport. It did this based on a surprise motion presented by one of the councilors with little data. This was a foregone conclusion to the mayor’s previously stated intention to close the airport.

The motion calls for the airport land to be divided such that the eastern side, including runway 16/34 could be carved off and closed within a year (by July 2010). This is to permit the expansion of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) campus among other things. A future date is to be selected by the city for the closure of the balance of the airport.

About the same time a new aviation community group was formed to bring together aviation stakeholders with a focus on raising the awareness of the value of aviation in the community. The new group is called Aviation Edmonton Association (AEA) and their slogan is “Promoting and Creating Awareness of the Aviation Community at the Edmonton City Centre Airport.”

AEA invites those who would like to support their effort to become members, receive monthly email updates and attend monthly social events. Individual non-voting membership is $10 and sustaining membership is $300. To join contact Mary Anne Stanway at info@aviationedmonton.ca or look for their new website under development at www.aviationedmonton.ca.

On Oct. 21, 2009, Airco Aircraft Charters Ltd., based at ECCA, launched a law suit against the Edmonton Regional Airport Authority (ERAA). The suit claims the ERAA is not operating in compliance with its purpose as set out in the Alberta Regional Airport Authorities Act, and that by closing the airport it is in contravention of its obligations under the 56-year lease of the airport signed with the City in 1996.

If successful this would effectively be an injunction preventing the ERAA from following through with Edmonton City Council’s decision to close the airport, at least for the balance of the 56 year lease (to 2052).

Anyone with an interest in keeping the Edmonton City Centre Airport open is encouraged to contact AEA and show your support by becoming a member.

Meanwhile, keep you prop spinning.