While Peterborough city council approved an ambitious 20-year, $48-million master plan for the Peterborough Airport on Tuesday night, area residents suggest the city needs to strike a deal and buy up their properties near the airport runway first.
Bill Fields has owned his property on Greenwood Drive, just adjacent to the airport’s runway for 27 years. It was a cottage at one time but he’s since renovated the property into a year-round home but now he says it’s no longer safe to live there and he’s calling on the city to give him fair value for the property.
“Over the course of the summertime, you can’t watch television inside with the windows open,” said Fields. “You’ve got to crank them down and crank the television way up because the planes constantly cycle every one to two minutes.”
Fields says it hasn’t always been this way, suggesting there might have been 10,000 flights taking off and landing at the airport in 2007, and points out there were a lot more trees lining the area back then.
In 2009, significant growth occurred at the airport as the runway was extended from 5,000 feet to 7,000 feet, allowing larger aircraft like Boeing 737s to land. Then in 2014, Seneca College moved its flight school to the airport and today, it sees close to 60,000 flights come in and go, over the course of a year.
“I want to stay here but I can’t stay there,” said Fields. “It’s not safe and it’s not healthy. The noise and the problems related to the airport are constant.”
Fields wants to sell and said there has been an offer from the city but he turned it down and says he wants a fair market value for his property and so does his neighbour Donald Graham who spoke at council.
“My family and I have been on this property for 53 years but the last few years have not been very pleasant,” said Graham, who is one of seven remaining property owners on the road looking to strike a deal with the city.
“We sat and watched as the airport expanded and put up with the noise that everyone has complained about and we attended the meetings,” he said. “We didn’t feel that the offer that they made to us was very fair and that’s all we’re asking for.”
Peterborough County warden Joe Taylor visited the area and says he sympathizes with the residents and urged city council to do the same.
“It wasn’t a particularly busy day for the operations at the airport and I can tell you about every four or five minutes, we had to stop talking,” said Taylor. “And I thought, ‘What kind of a way would that be to live if that was the type of environment you were being subjected to?'”
Director of planning and development Jeffery Humble says the Peterborough Airport is the fastest growing airport in the region and part of the growth plan has been to acquire these properties.
“The appraisals are there and we’re open to fair and reasonable discussions on that, ultimately, council makes the decisions and provides us the authority to negotiate and the appraisals are the tools that allow us to do that.”
Council voted to approve the 20-year airport master plan but have asked staff to come back with a report regarding the properties along Greenwood Road.