Oshawa encouraging residents to take airport noise concerns to federal Transport Minister

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Published February 15, 2023 at 5:04 pm

Photo Mubeen Azam

The City of Oshawa is getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of response from Transport Canada regarding noise complaints at the Oshawa Executive Airport but reminded residents local elected officials have “no authority” to regulate airport activity.

In perhaps their strongest language to date Oshawa Council hinted the years may be numbered for the airport, stating in a press release that the City is committed to ensuring “open dialogue” while “we work to fulfill our agreement with the Federal Government” to operate the Oshawa Executive Airport until 2047.

“While the Oshawa Executive Airport is a significant asset for economic growth in the City and for Durham Region, the City’s long-term vision is balancing the quality of life of our residents with the economic benefits of the airport.”

Rumblings about excessive noise at the airport and of the volume of air traffic – particularly by the Canadian Flight Academy, the subject of a lawsuit currently before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – have been increasing in recent years but Transport Canada has yet to respond to the complaints.

“The City understands the valid concerns of residents regarding noise and air traffic at the Oshawa Executive Airport,” the statement read, adding that staff and Council agree that “a better balance is necessary.”

“While the Oshawa Executive Airport is a significant asset for economic growth in the City and for Durham Region, the City’s long-term vision is balancing the quality of life of our residents with the economic benefits of the airport.”

The City is faced with several challenges in accomplishing change at the airport, which opened in 1941 as the No. 20 Elementary Flying Training School RCAF Station Oshawa, with students flying Tiger Moths. (The school closed in 1944 and was turned over to the Department of Transport. Oshawa took over the facility in 1947.)

First, Transport Canada is the regulator and the only agency who can control airport activity. Municipal by-laws are useless and no one at the City has any the authority to regulate aircraft activity. Both Oshawa and the Town of Whitby outlined public concerns about noise in 2021 but as of now, Transport Canada has not responded to either municipality.

Second, there are two methods available to initiate a noise abatement procedure: a voluntary process and a formal process. The voluntary process, the statement from the City continued, is “not effective” while the formal process, initiated in 2021, has not elicited a response from the federal agency.

And then there is the lawsuit. The continued operation of the Canadian Flight Academy training school is currently before the courts with trail sittings on the matter happening just twice a year: May and November.

A scheduled trial date set for last November didn’t happen and Oshawa’s legal department is still waiting for a decision on whether the trial will happen this May.

Oshawa is encouraging residents with concerns to contact Transport Minister Omar Alghabra ([email protected] or via telephone at (613) 992-1301 or (905) 848-8595) to voice their complaints.

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra

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