Submitted: November 10th, 2010
Group assignment on the policies reflecting land-use and the controversial Pickering Airport plans.
Christopher Evan Jones
Layout / Design
History, Analysis & Conclusion
Since 1972, a number of attempts have been made to create a second international airport to service the growing GTA region. While the first attempt to establish a multi-nodal air transportation system within the region failed in 1975 due to failing political support and the changing socio-economic atmosphere of Canada. The need to alleviate future air capacity issues has become critical to the local and national economy. Local municipal airports are experiencing pressure for redevelopment, and limited operational capacity is advancing their eventual closure. Final attempts to maximize capacity at Pearson International are soon to be completed, so that action on the Pickering Airport Lands – an area north-east of Toronto under federal control for 38 years – has become a front-burner issue for planners and aviation policy makers in recent years.
It is important that remnants from the past do not go unheeded. Planning around four levels of government, some spanning multiple territories directly from land implications or indirectly through noise and air pollution can be an overwhelming and daunting task. Not taking lessons from history and understanding the full implications of externalities, this initiative could once again fail for the same reasons as 35 years ago. It risks becoming detrimental to the development and strength of local, regional, provincial and national economic engines implicating many industries including trade, tourism and housing.
Complicating this process is the exponential development of surrounding towns that once made this airport location so desirable. Developing business clusters, such as the high-tech industries in the westerly Markham region and the automotive industry to the east in Oshawa both require new support structures to continue growth or maintain their current trajectory. The introduction of environmental conservation policies and smart growth initiatives monetizes the surrounding lands rapidly, and places pressure on municipalities to continue with the current plan or declare it a finally dead proposal.
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