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Airport business plan one step from completion

Oshawa AirportBy Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

A process that has been underway since December 2012 is about to come to an end, and it has some members of city council and the Oshawa Airport administration breathing a sigh of relief.

The Oshawa Airport Business Plan is set to pass through council for the last time on June 29 and will guide decision-making surrounding the city’s air transport asset into 2019.

“I don’t think there’s anything more that this committee can do,” said Councillor John Aker at a joint meeting of the development services and finance committee on June 18. Aker has been involved with the process since 2012.

“It was a balanced process,” he said. “All the stakeholders were represented.”

The joint meeting allowed some residents and users of the airport to voice some of their concerns for the last time before the plan is put into action. The city held a public meeting on May 25, the second throughout the process, to gather feedback from those that use the airport, as well as the population at large.

In the most recent round of discussions, there were still concerns being raised about fees going up.

Jeff Page, a hangar owner who flies recreationally, says he already pays $2,700 each year in taxes for his hangar and therefore doesn’t believe a fee increase is appropriate

“The airport should be available to all residents, not just the wealthy,” he says.

The five-year financial plan for the airport aims to pull the facility out of the operating deficit it is used to carrying, and will see some fees go up as much as 10 per cent during that time.

The new plan builds off the previous airport business plan, which was in place between 2008 and 2012.

The process received some flak from residents and business stakeholders recently who criticized the city for operating the airport for nearly three years without any type of business plan.