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Airports are a part of city life

Dear Editor,

In the Oshawa Express edition of Aug. 14, a letter to the editor entitled “Airports are a Community Lifeline” outlined the consequences of the incompatible land use that allows residential properties to be built in environmentally unsuitable areas.

In the case of an airport, it is unfortunately politically expedient to curtail the operations when there is a noise issue rather than to address the problem in a holistic manner.  Strangely enough, there are never requests to curtail highway operations when nearby residences are affected, although noise levels may be on a steady 24/7 basis.

Improper land use is not only the result of poor decisions made in the past, but continues to this day. This results in operating constraints that do not address the root of the problem. In addition, this makes it practically impossible for Oshawa to attract high-tech industries that depend, one way or another, on air operations.

An illustration of a major blunder now underway can be seen in the Taunton Road and Garrard Road area where Whitby has allowed the construction of multiple high-density low-level housings in conjunction with high-rise residential towers. This is within one km of the airport and close to the extended runway centre-line, along a generally climbing flight path where full aircraft power is required and hence, significant noise levels are generated.

This artificially-created constraint will have adverse long-term consequences on the vitality of the community, including generating a steady stream of complaints about airport “noise” when these units are eventually occupied. One may wonder if this was done with the intent of creating increased political pressure against the very existence of the Oshawa Airport.

Meanwhile, the planned closing of the Buttonville Airport should be an opportunity for Oshawa to attract some of the high-tech firms that depend on air operations, as Buttonville once did. However, Oshawa has yet to tangibly demonstrate the initiatives that attract industries.

As for the specific issues of the Garrard/Taunton complex, future residents must be provided with full disclosure about the expected noise levels before they sign on the sales or rental agreement. This way, they will make their transactions with full knowledge of the facts. They will not be able to later claim that they have been misinformed or that they “did not know” about the expected ambient noise levels.

Consequently, there should be an explicit clause in the purchase/rental agreement stating not only the existence of the airport, but also its unavoidable associated noise levels.

Not to do so would be unethical and deceitful on the part of the promoters.

A proper mix of transportation infrastructures is essential to the vitality of a region and these all have an environmental footprint – even a low-tech galloping horse makes “noise.”

If we want Oshawa to prosper, we have to recognise this reality and act accordingly.

Paul Larose