I just posted this to the Edmonton Journal's forum on the recent decision to close City Centre Airport.
Keep my predictions close by, kids. Don Iveson's eco-paradise is all a big lie, and one day in the future when none of the promised benefits have arrived, I hope you take every means necessary to ensure he pays dearly for the horrific thing he has done.
Well congrats, the airport capable of handling small and medium length trips and landing the passengers less than 20 minutes from downtown (during rush hour) is being closed down. Thank God we can finally be a world class city and stop having more than one airport like all those other second-rate cities like New York or London or Vancouver or Chicago or LA or Paris or Beijing.
Seriously the only reason that there's any animosity to the airport in the first place is that Mandel and his fellow fetishers irrationally against the City Centre Airport have spent two decades demonizing it. Remember when we needed to consolidate in order to keep the International attractive to international flights? And for the next decade we lost more and more long-haul flights anyways (a situation that, surprise surprise, ended when the boom was in full effect)? And then after requiring planes to carry 11 passengers or fewer (most small charter planes hold 19, so we wouldn't even let those planes run at capacity), the airport was slagged for being a playground for an elite few. Well who's idea was that?
Next of course we heard that the airport was keeping buildings low: yet dozens of miles from the airport and far off the flightpaths approaching the runways, city council continually approved new developments with 5 story maximum height restrictions -- placing their heights well below places like the cement factory or the Charles Camsell which are within a mile of City Centre Airport.
What other bogeymans has Mandel and his crew been throwing out there? He's also lied incessently about a desperate plan to raze the land for promised "green uber-dense urban housing"...which developers will reject and push (ultimately successfully) for more Silver Berry-dense single dwellings only punctuated with the occasional walkup or single-story strip mall. Twenty years from now when the old airport lands are no more densely developed than Fort Road will Mandel and Iveson and their ilk have to pay any price at all? Will we eventually be able to sprawl out enough to make up for the fact that without City Centre Airport Edmonton will in fact have the MOST DISTANT airport from the core in North America? Is this the legacy that the airport closure fetishers are so anxious to have? Have the ol' Leduc International continue to make us a laughing stock, with the ultimate tax sinkhole that a crime ridden inner city housing project shall become the only consolation prize?
Edmonton has no qualms dropping a few billion on an "Expo" that won't even be officially sanctioned or recognized, but when it comes to spending a fraction of that money in infrastructure to turn City Centre Airport into a break even if not profitable venture, the city would rather burn the continual costs of its decision to hobble the airport.
And after all of this, Mandel's quick to do everything in his power to block a petition from possibly forcing him to listen to the judgment of the ungrateful city denizens who probably want their OWN under-the-table cut from some developer.
But hey, its okay, we've decided to officially "close it down". That, the fetishers now tell us, makes it a "dead issue". Like gay marriage or Quebec separatism, it didn't matter how many times anybody voted "no" to closure, but its that last "yes" vote that forever seals the deal. Great news! The LRT expansion is a major and divisive issue, and I'm opposed to it entirely, so all we have to do is hold a vote to demolish the existing LRT. So all you people who insist that our representatives on city council (who curiously never said a word about the airport until the polls closed) are the final arbiters and that once a "close it down" vote is passed that's the end of it, if this vote ever happens to close the LRT you'll sit quiet about it? You'll tell some meddling provincial politician to go back to Calgary rather than muse about plebiscites?
Or is this all just a smokescreen to cover the fact that you're mad you can't fly to the City Centre Airport, and you don't know enough to blame the same incompetents who supported this closure for effectively closing it in 1995?