February 6, 2018 4:21 pm

City council examines long-term investments for Peterborough Airport

A 20-year strategic plan was delivered to council, recommending the city spend $48 million to spur growth and investment.


The Peterborough airport was put under the microscope at city hall Monday night as council was asked to consider a 20-year plan that recommends the city spend $48 million on upgrades and expansion.

Airport planning consultant Adam Martin delivered a presentation looking at the future of the airport while he was quick to praise the most recent accomplishments.

“The success of the Peterborough airport has been tremendous and almost unprecedented and the numbers will only speak for themselves,” said Martin.

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The city invested $7.6 million for expansion and development of lands on site, then in 2009, the federal and provincial governments provided $14 million in funding to boost infrastructure and expand the runway from 5,000 feet to 7,000 feet. That allowed larger aircrafts like Boeing 737s to land.

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“The investment made by city council has definitely come to fruition and created jobs and economic growth,” said Martin. He added that in the past decade he hasn’t seen growth like this at any airport in the province.

“Activity levels have skyrocketed … Employment levels have increased dramatically and it has all been made possible by council’s commitment to investing in the airport.”

Seneca College set up its aviation school at the airport in 2014, there was significant expansion of aerospace manufacturing at Flying Colours and 27 new hangars have been built since 2008.

Martin says in 2008, the airport was injecting $41 million into the economy while employing 422 people. By 2016 those numbers the airport was providing nearly 800 jobs and pumping more than $74 million into the local economy.

READ MORE: Peterborough Airport explores flights to Toronto Island

Martin says further expansion is needed over the next 20 years ahead. He laid out the details of a $48-million plan to help guide development and create further investment.

Business at the airport has been picking up as the focus on the aerospace manufacturing has taken off with it’s anchor tenant Flying Colours, a recognized leader in all aspects of aircraft completion and maintenance, while Seneca College has helped put the airport on the map as an educational leader, where they see growth opportunities in flight training.

Further investment will allow the airport to focus on leisure and charter flight that fly into and from Peterborough to other regional markets.

A short-term recommendation is to spend $3.5 million to extend a taxi lane along the main runway to allow more flights and ease traffic, while another $5 million would go towards water and sewer to allow more industrial growth, which is in the 2018 budget.

Counc. Dan McWilliams noted that a major concern is that not all the land the airport is looking at for expansion is owned by the city. Much of it is in neighbouring Cavan-Monaghan township.

“I think it’s important that if we are going to move forward with this great investment, wonderful investment, that we do this with both our hand in our pockets, not just one,” said McWilliams.

City CAO Allan Seabrooke assured council that staff is continuing to negotiate with Cavan-Monaghan, the County of Peterborough and the province as they are looking to complete a boundary adjustment to bring all airport lands into the city of Peterborough.

It’s unclear if all sides will be able to reach a land deal agreement in the short term and a provincial facilitator is helping to guide those negotiations.

Council will vote to ratify the airport strategic plan in two weeks.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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