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Request for airport dollars will have to wait until budget time

Oshawa Municipal Airport

The City of Oshawa will have to wait until the Region of Durham’s budget process to find out if it will receive Durham’s share of tax dollars from the Oshawa Executive Airport. The city says the regionally collected funds would go towards upcoming improvements to the airport.

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

The city will have to wait until 2017 to find out if regionally-collected funds from the Oshawa Executive Airport will find its way to city coffers.

Regional councillors voted to refer the discussion to staff with both the finance and administration and planning and economic departments for the regional budget, which will not be up for discussion until the new year.

Under this proposal, the City of Oshawa is looking for the Region of Durham to hand over property tax dollars from businesses at the airport, approximately $512,000, and direct them towards the city. At a meeting of city council in December, councillors voted in favour of extending its debt limit in order to accommodate spending $4 million for replacing the airport’s runway.

Speaking in favour of the city’s request at regional council, Mayor John Henry said that the airport is a benefit not only to the city, but the region as a whole.

“One of the regular business flights is a company that has an office and manufacturing facility in Knoxville, Tennessee, and in Ajax. There are 25 jobs in Ajax that are directly tied to the ability of this business to fly one hour, 45 minutes between locations. Another business user in Clarington has two aircraft based at the airport and is bringing a third in when the hangar is complete in 2017,” Henry said.

“Forty-two hundred and fifty feet of runway will take you anywhere in the world and it makes Durham connected. Forty-two hundred and fifty feet of road just takes you 4,250 feet.”

The motion to refer the request to staff for the regional budget passed unanimously.