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Airport Study Coming Thanks to Provincial Leadership

The people of own CF Polo Park approached the City of Winnipeg to invest over half a billion dollars in re-developing the current Polo Park Mall site.

The application quickly became an item that the Council was afraid to decide on given the divide among some resident groups. The issue at hand is the "so-called" 24-hour airport status, which is smoke and mirrors because every airport in Canada allows flights to land 24 hours a day. The other airports charge extra to do so, that is the difference.

The phantom runway that spoken about on many occasions and concerned residents concerning noise doesn't exist. The runway is a dream, a 20 to 30-year strategy, if necessary.

The Airport Authority in the last hour announced they wanted a Provincial review, which the Mayor and his EPC were more than happy to allow, so they wouldn't be forced to decide on their own.

This project, with some notable others, Parker Lands and the Portage Place Mall development, are evidence of the dysfunction at City Hall. The public dysfunction is not helping attract business to our city.

There is no leadership at the top. No member of EPC or the Mayor has ever managed a company, negotiated land agreements, or created jobs. You may be shocked to know that most have only ever worked for the government (that is true of 85% of the Council), so it's no surprise that there is a lack of leadership and decision making skills with the Mayor's inner circle.

Why would any company want to invest in our city?

Thankfully the Provincial Government is stepping up to save the city and take the much needed leadership role.

The Manitoba government will invest in a review of existing land-use policies and update an aircraft noise study for the Winnipeg James A. Richardson International Airport, Municipal Relations Minister Rochelle Squires and Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler announced today.

“This is an important and long-overdue step forward for Manitoba’s largest airport and the area surrounding it,” said Squires. “The plan’s noise exposure forecast map, and the policies surrounding it, have not been updated for more than 25 years. The review of existing land-use policies, along with an updated noise exposure study, will ensure the Airport Vicinity Protection Area will appropriately reflect current conditions and noise thresholds in order to accommodate increased economic activity in the area while protecting the airport’s 24 hour operations.”

“We are reducing barriers to development and economic growth by ensuring that information for decision making is current, while reducing planning approval and permitting delays and protecting the airport’s 24 hour operations,” said Eichler. “Up-to-date, scientific data on noise in the vicinity of the airport is crucial to help guide decisions on the type and scale of development that can occur in the area while fostering the airport’s continued growth.”

The request for proposals (RFP) will engage external experts to complete a study that will recommend updates and changes to the Airport Vicinity Protection Area Secondary Plan (AVPA), enacted in 1994. This City of Winnipeg plan is a land-use document that aims to mitigate potential land-use conflicts associated with noise and other impacts generated by airport operations.

“WAA commends the Province of Manitoba for showing leadership and moving forward with a review of the AVPA,” said Barry Rempel, president and CEO, Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA). “This review is an opportunity to chart a new course for our province that sees optimal use of existing infrastructure for further residential and mixed-use development while protecting the community’s air connectivity, all founded on best practice and the latest scientific evidence.”

The noise exposure forecast is the official measurement used in Canada for aircraft noise assessment. Transport Canada considers residential development incompatible with airport operations in areas that exceed specific noise thresholds.

The RFP has been posted to MERX at www.merx.comunder an open tendering process.

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