I talked about the Pickering City Council wanting to get the Pickering airport off the ground in my previous article, please see http://chinesenewsgroup.com/news/662625.
The City of Pickering is trying to attract and land Amazon’s second North American headquarters (HQ2) outside of its hometown Seattle. It is one of 238 municipalities in North America competing for the jobs and prosperity that would be injected into local economies.
Amazon is looking for a metro area with more than 1 million people, quality transit options, and incentive from local governments. Those could come in the form of tax credits and exemptions, relocation and workforce grants, utility incentives, and fee reductions. On October 19,2017, the submission of applications for this competition closed.
Amazon did not list which cities or metro areas applied, but said the proposals came from 43 U.S. states, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, three Mexican states and six Canadian provinces. So who are the front runners? The top six cities are Toronto, Boston, Austin, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Atlanta according to Internet rumours.
The City of Pickering is actually riding the coattails of the Toronto bid. Toronto has expanded the familiar Greater Toronto Area to what it calls the "Toronto Region," stretching from Kitchener-Waterloo to Durham Region in the east. And the bid includes details on up to 10 different sprawling sites in the area that might suit Amazon's needs.
In June 2013, the late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the 7,500 hectares of land in Pickering, Markham and Uxbridge will be transformed into a new airport and a 2,000-hectare Rouge National Urban Park. The airport will be built by 2027, according to Jim Flaherty.
In 2015 and 2017, two transactions were made to transfer about half of the 1972 expropriated airport lands to the Rouge National Urban Park. These lands are located to the west side of the original parcel of land at a 45 degree angle starting from the north east corner to the south west corner. With the southern boundaries of the airport lands locating along the 407/highway 7 junction and its eastern boundaries at Brock Road, the airport will be close to both the cities of Markham and Pickering.
The reallocation of land to the Rouge National Urban Park means that the future Pickering Airport will be a localized “little airport” and not an International one as originally envisioned back in the 1970's.
The “Expropriation Act” is not intended to be used by the Crown to seize citizens' private property for a specific "public work" and then give or sell that property to other citizens for their private uses and benefit should the "public work" not proceed. Airport opponents and farmland proponents argue that the federal government would be guilty of a breach of faith regarding the Pickering site should it choose a way out that differs from the one chosen for the excess lands at Mirabel, also expropriated for an international airport but never needed. The Mirabel lands were returned to their original use, which, as at Pickering, was farming.
How do Markham municipal politicians feel about the Pickering Airport? An unofficial poll showed the majority of Councillors and Regional Councillors oppose its construction. Markham is trying to get rid of its own small Buttonville Airport as well. With a new airport close by, there will be noise issues along with more traffic and housing problems that it does not want to handle.
The future of the Pickering Airport Lands became an election issue in the 2015 Canadian federal election. In local candidate meetings only Conservative candidates expressed support for building an airport on the lands, with the NDP, Liberal and Green candidates expressing opposition. Given those indications, the ruling Liberal government is not likely to proceed with work on the Pickering Airport any time soon.
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