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Rapid development urged in Mount Hope
City in competition with Pickering airport site, councillor says


TORSTAR NEWS SERVICE

HAMILTON - City councillors want to fast-track commercial and industrial development around John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport before a proposed new airport in Pickering is ready to compete.

Backed by business interests, politicians want to expedite an expansion of the urban boundary to include airport employment lands. Council's planning and economic development committee yesterday urged the province to exempt Hamilton from what staff say will be a cumbersome approval process under the Places to Grow Act, now awaiting second reading in the legislature.

Ancaster Councillor Murray Ferguson told colleagues, "Make no mistake, we're in a struggle with Pickering and the truth is they have a leg up in terms of process (because nearby land is already designated for development).

Kim Piper, from the commercial real estate company CB Richard Ellis, appeared on behalf of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce to warn that "under Places to Grow in its present form, the airport will not be allowed to expand."

"You need to tell the province it needs to happen and it needs to happen now."

Stewart Steeves, chief financial officer for airport operator TradePort International, said surrounding land is outside the new provincial greenbelt, but in a zone where noise rules prohibit residential use, so commercial development makes sense.

He also also said developers will pay for on-site sewage treatment, eliminating concern over capacity of trunk sewers and the Woodward Avenue sewage treatment plant.

Councillor Dave Mitchell, who represents the area, said the city should immediately expand the boundary and start development.

But staff planner Paul Mason told councillors Hamilton still must justify the expansion to the province, and that's what the current Growth-Related Integrated Development Study (GRIDS) is expected to provide.

Planner Steve Robichaud said it would be premature to say there's a need to do anything now, that "the most prudent course would be to move ahead with GRIDS." Mason said GRIDS should provide key answers by year-end.

The Hamilton-Halton Home Builders' Association also urged councillors to tell the province Hamilton can't accommodate 80,000 more people within its existing urban area, as Places to Grow would require in order to curb sprawl.

The association said the new city already has 23.8 housing units per hectare, a higher density than the amalgamated city of Toronto with 23.5, and much higher than Burlington's 10.3 or Oakville's 6.6.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
this is important.... crucial to Hamiltons economic health, and I think an international hub makes more sense in Hamilton than in Pickering. Hamilton is alot closer to the economic activity that drives Ontario (ie: GTA, Niagara Peninsula, the Golden Triangle). Why would they want to put a secondary airport on the other side of Toronto??

Those density numbers look good... Hamilton denser than TO.. who knew ;)
 

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I have a picture of Hamilton airport expansion plans but I gotta find it later, being swamped with final exams coming up, study, study and study some more lol.

It’s kinda scary seeing new housing developments around Hope Mount area. If that keeps going it’s going to kill Hamilton airport because of noise complaints. City Hall better hurry the hell up and ban new housing development around the airport.

The new highway 6, six-lane freeway from Highway 403 ($20 million cost), is really boosting the airport lately. City Hall picked a new for the highway recently but I forgot the name. I think its veterans memorial highway or something. It's dedicated for the veterans. Hamilton airport used to be a military airport.

Interesting stats about Hamilton's density.
 

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That's what I am wondering too? About a secondary airport to Metro Toronto. I hope all goes well and new housing in that area is banned, because the consequences of that could be disastrous.
 

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Man its about time they do something to that airport. No offense, but that airport is crap. It is small, old, and its no wonder left the YHZ Hub to create the YYZ hub. I really really hope the city and the airport authority can get its act together and build a viable alternative to YYZ!
 

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Pushes for airport development go-ahead

Hamilton city council is preparing a big push to develop land around John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport before the Pickering Airport gets off the ground.

Mayor Larry Di Ianni and councillors Terry Whitehead, Murray Ferguson, Bill Kelly and Dave Mitchell are up for appointment Wednesday to an airport implementation task force. Its job will be “to focus all available resources on economic development as its No. 1 priority, with particular attention to the airport as a key economic node to future prosperity,” according to the council motion.

The committee’s challenge will be to get the land approved for urban development, find the money to install sewer and water services, and attract business investors before a proposed Pickering airport becomes a serious competitor.

Guy Paparella, former director of strategic initiatives in the office of city manager Glen Peace, will spearhead action at the staff level in his new job as director of industrial parks and airport development.

Council is also expected to vote Wednesday to ask the province to exempt the airport area from the Places to Grow Act so that land can quickly be included in the city’s urban boundary.

There’s concern the red tape associated with the act could delay the boundary change.

“We’re putting the rubber to the road,” said Ferguson, a member of council’s planning and economic development committee. “We have to create employment lands and capitalize on the airport as one of our major economic clusters. We have to do it now because of the treat of Pickering.”

It will be costly to service land far from the lake and harbour. Paparella says the city will have to “look at all its revenue-generating instruments – taxes, development charges and bylaws to make landowners pay for services – as well as partnerships with private investors and aid from provincial and federal governments. I think it’s going to mean a creative combination of all those funds.”

He will report to Neil Everson, executive director of economic development which will become a division of the planning and development department which, in turn, will be renamed planning and economic development to line up with the name of the council committee.

The rush to build around the airport is putting pressure on the department to complete the Growth-Related Integrated Development Strategy or GRIDS, which is to determine where it makes the best planning and financial sense to extend services and allow growth.

Ferguson says he finds it frustrating to wait for GRIDS to be finished, “because it almost seems to be impeding growth,” but realizes the document is needed to convince the province to co-operate with the airport plan.
 

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Mount Hope ‘airport city’ planned

A city task force targeting more than 1,000 hectares of Mount Hope land wants to create an ‘airport city’ with 25,000 jobs.

The bill for servicing the property could hit $100 million. And there’s a rush on: Hamilton wants to slip under provincial growth limits and beat the Pickering Airport to market. But the new push for an “aerotropolis” – or airport city – is already being slammed by critics who say it will pave farmland, building highways and push urban sprawl out to Mount Hope.

“I have grave concerns,” said city Councillor Brian McHattie, who wants to see a risk-analysis. “But if Hamilton wants to shoot itself in the foot, I may be powerless to stop it.”

City officials want to develop land near John C Munro Hamilton International Airport before the proposed Pickering Airport opens. They envision a mayor node for jobs in relatively ‘clean’ fields such as logistics, transportation, warehousing and more.

The top city staffer on the project, Guy Paparella, said his priority is the 530 hectares ready for development but without servicing: a long strip west of old Highway 6 between Twenty and Airport road, and two parcels north and south of the airport.

“We should be able to get that land moving pretty quickly,” he said.

The boarder push is to study land all around the airport to see if it should be serviced, rezoned or brought into the city limits by an urban-boundary expansion.

The city is keen on a chunk along the new Highway 6 extension from the 403 to the airport.

It’s zoned agricultural and is unserviced, but the city desperately wants to make it home to light industry, or a research and innovation park.

As well, a 320-hectare tract between Twenty Road West and the airport awaits an Ontario Municipal Board ruling.

Paparella said that, to speed development, he may try to resolve residents’ concern about not having been included in the urban boundary under the 1995 Regional Official Plan.

The airport, operated by TradePort International since 1996, has seen impressive growth in recent years. From 1999 to 2003, passengers increased from 222,561 to 1.04 million per year.

Hamilton’s airport has positioned as a smaller, easier option than Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport, with its maze of terminals and parking lots.

But last fall, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority released a draft plan to build a $2-billion airport on federal lands in Pickering. City officials find an irony: Hamilton has an airport and needs zoning while Pickering has zoning but needs an airport.

Still in the planning stages, and to be built over three decades, the Pickering airport could eventually handle 11 million passengers a year. The GTAA said Pickering may lure Hamilton’s night-time charters, bad-weather diversions and some corporate fights. Proponents say it may open by 2012.

They city wants to expand its urban boundary in include the airport.

It is doing so by seeking an exemption from the provincial Places to Grow Act. Council is expected to ask the province for the exemption tomorrow.

Steve Robichaud, who heads the city’s long-term growth planning project, GRIDS, says timing is the key.

The province has frozen urban-boundary expansions as it works on details of its Place to Grow plan for sustainable growth.

If Hamilton waits, the city may not be able to expand to the airport in time to lure businesses away from the Pickering airport.

Land designated as urban is easier to market to businesses.

“There’s a potential for increased competition for investment dollars” if Hamilton airport isn’t exempted from the Places to Grow planning process, Robichaud said. “The city is looking for flexibility if this (provincial) process takes longer than expected.”

The cost of servicing airport lands for business growth, may cost anywhere from the “low 10s millions” to $100 million depending on how it works, said Paparella, who noted the city won’t pay the full cost.

Stewart Steeves, vice-president of finance for TradePort International, said the airport’s master plan is to expand one of its runways to the southwest by about 1,200 metres.

Steeves said business development of the surrounding lands is a better fit for the airport.

Noise and round-the-clock operations are an issue for residents but not for employers.

According to its own reports, Hamilton airport generates more than 3,600 jobs and pumps $410 million into the economy each year. If airport lands were developed by 2017, the city would have an extra $70 million in property tax, the airport says.

“Most airports have significant development around the airport…Hamilton airport has that potential by has been restricted due to land availability,” Steeves said.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
so, is the idea to have the next major airport in Hamilton rather than Pickering, or to have an airport in Hamilton that compliments a new airport in Pickering? That last article was a tad confusing.

I wonder if there is enough land at Mount Hope for a major airport.

However, I think an airport in Hamilton makes alot more sense than one in Pickering. Hamilton could serve all of Southwestern Ontario and most of the GTA very easily.... Pickering is only convenient to Toronto. Pickering... yuck.
 

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The federal government has to give the GTAA approval for the land to become an airport. That might be a challenge because Tony Valeri, House Leader, said he will advocate against the Pickering airport. Plus Dalton McGunity is against the Pickering airport idea as well.

In a way its kinda good Pickering airport is being proposed because now it's getting the councillor off their ass and start doing something about Hamilton airport.
 

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Hamilton’s mayor says a new Pickering airport won’t take off

Mayor Larry Di Ianni scoffed at the idea that the city north of Toronto could beat the steel town in the race to attract businesses to undeveloped airport lands.

Hamilton’s one major hurdle has been trying to get zoning for 2,000 to 2,500 acres of land in Mount Hope around the John C Munro Hamilton International Airport. The land is currently zoned agricultural.

Pickering is zoned for an airport but doesn’t have the money to build yet. It must also go through an environmental assessment on the land, which could take four years to complete.

“They’re in worse shape than we are,” Di Ianni said. “They don’t have an airport.”

Hamilton recently established an Implementation Task Force – which includes the mayor, four councillors and top staffers – to look into what needs to be done to develop vacant lands.

“We need to fast track this, but fast tracking could mean a year,” Di Ianni said.

However, he said things are looking up. He made a presentation Monday to a committee in charge of looking at legislation and it “went well.”

Di Ianni said expansion around the airport could generate 25,000 new jobs. The city would like to see the land used for entities such as small office buildings, transportation companies and warehouses.

“I want to see jobs for Hamiltonians,” he said, nothing that development around the Pearson International Airport in Toronto has created a huge boom in business for that city.

The project wouldn’t be a cheap one – the price tag for servicing the lands for new businesses could be up to $100 million, depending on the services required and if the city needs to purchase private lands. The cost would be spread out over a 30 to 35 year period.

That amount is a drop in the bucket compared to how much it would cost the province and taxpayers to build a new airport in Pickering, said Di Ianni, who estimated that cost at around $2 billion.

“That would be devastating to the province to buld an airport out there,” he said. “We could put that money to far better use than on that white elephant.”

Councillor David Mitchell a member of task force, said the city couldn’t be expected to carry all the cost from the project and hopes the province will pony up some of the cash,.

“I have been told there are good announcements coming on infrastructure,” he said.

Mitchell hopes to get rezoning on the land as early as this fall but current provincial legislation that calls for Hamilton to revitalize its downtown core before starting any new development, is holding up the process.

“We should be doing something now, but we’re not because all this legislation is trying us up,” he said.

But, he said, the airport development is a priority for the city.

“It’s very important that the area gets serviced so we can build new terminals and bring in new businesses so people in Hamilton can benefit.”
 

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Windsor's turn now!
We defineatly need an international airport...insted of going to Detroit (America), or driving four hours to Toronto.

Our airport land is MASSIVE, and it could feed the great frenzie that people have in Southern Southern Ontario.
I think it would work...obviously doesn't have to be a gigantic airport, but big enough to direct traffic in and out of our great nation.
 

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^Windsor has an airport. Do does London. Why don't you fly out of those airports instead of driving to Pearson? Air Canada JAzz serves Windsor, while WestJet, Northwest Airlines and Air Canada serve London.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
"“That would be devastating to the province to buld an airport out there,” he said. “We could put that money to far better use than on that white elephant.”"

How ironic. Di Ianni thinks a Pickering airport would be a white elephant, yet he wants to 'fast-track' a $100 million dollar's to service an agricultural area, when we don't even know if the Province or the Feds would prefer Hamilton over Pickering. What a dickhead.

A white-elephant would be a dead industrial park for an airport that never grew. That's exactly the last thing Hamilton needs; we're broke.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It's occured to me... If Hamilton really wants to be competitive with Pickering... a fixed transit link from downtown (GO Transit) to the airport would be our secret weapon. Think about it... Mount Hope would theoretically be easier to get to by transit than even Pearson, let alone some field in Pickering.

If it could be possible to do a light rail link up James Street. I'm not sure what the easiest way of doing that could be. Express buses could make the trip up the 403 in pretty good time too.

It's so close, everything we need is here, we just have to fill in the blanks.
 

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In the past there used to an Airport bus. Goes from downtown to the airport.

But the city got rid of that route during amalgamation.

I remember seeing an article where TradePort was pushing the city for a light transit to Hamilton airport. I'll see if I can find that.
 

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Well that was quick, Koroscil (boss of YHM) in City Hall

McHattie: asks about "risk factors involved in the airline industry" such as climate change and the expected peak in oil production. "Industries that are highly dependent on fuel and fuel costs may have a difficult time". How might this affect the future of the airport. Do you take these issues into account. Koroscil: "The numbers that we're putting in front of you come from much bigger minds than mine. They are economists that are associated with the industry and my understanding is that they have taken some of those things into consideration." To the degree that you're wondering, I'm not certain". "History has clearly shown the growth rates that have taken place. Whether or not they will continue I don't know but we're using the best minds that are out there." "One of the things that we'd like to talk to the provincial government about is light rail transit to the airport to reduce the amount of vehicle traffic." Also says there would be huge savings in fuel if people close to Hamilton used their airport instead of Pearson. "The amount of time that would be saved on the highway and driving would be huge, just by them coming to Hamilton instead of driving all the way to Pearson and dealing with all the congestion in Pearson." Save one lane of traffic on the QEW.
 

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I don't know if I can even post this so late but what is going on with the proposal for the lands around the airport. Is progress being made on getting the land rezoned? I actually feel then whould first put that money into terminal facilities and Cargo facilities then take the profit they get from Tradeport and use it towards the land around the airport.

Just my 2 cents
 

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Your likely to see progress made this summer for the aerotropolis idea since Mayor Di Ianni wants this to be a re-election issue in the fall. But there's groups out such as Hamiltonians for Progressive Development that's trying to slow down this development because they fear the City is just expanding it's urban area, which is won't since the land around airport will only be for industrial businesses not homes.

City Hall has just finalized a budget that includes $5.3 million for the airport and sometime next month is expected to finalize aerotropolis proposal.

Progress has been made with the airport as you might have heard recently Hamilton airport is doubling its international terminal. Rumours are that Zoom Airlines wants to relocate to YHM from Pearson, high cost of Pearson.
 
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