The possibility of building a new airport in Pickering has people in the GTA talking, both in support and against the idea. the Pickering Airport may seem like it came out of the blue just this year, but the truth is that plans for the transportation hub have been in the works for a long time.
How long exactly? Well, the original plan for an airport outside of Toronto goes all the way back to 1969, when an appropriate site was chosen out of 60 possible locations. In 1972, the land for the airport was purchased by the Canadian Government, then headed by Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Unfortunately, after that plans for construction appeared to stall, and most of the land was leased back to farmers. In 2017, most of the land had become Rouge National Urban Park. However, a portion of the land was still set aside for the eventual airport.
Pickering Mayor David Ryan supports the construction of the airport, and is waiting for updates from the federal government. "The Pickering Airport is still a question mark," he told the Toronto Sun. In reference to the federal government granting approval for the construction of the airport, Ryan said, "That decision is long overdue."
He looks at how Mississauga has benefitted economically from Pearson Airport as proof that Pickering's own airport could be a boon to the community.
Citing former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, Ryan told the Toronto Sun "She referenced they have over 64 Japanese companies in Mississauga, and it’s no accident they’re there."
Of course, like any large project, there are people who oppose construction of the airport, such as Mary Delaney, chair of the volunteer group Land over Landings.
"The threat of an airport on these lands has to be lifted and the lands have to be protected in perpetuity," Delaney told CBC News.
The federal government is speculated to have a current report on the state of the Pickering Airport.