After over 60 years in operation, the Buttonville airport in Markham, Ont., is set to close this year.
A letter sent to tenants and staff from Derek Sifton, president of Torontair Limited, was obtained by Global News and said the airport will cease operations on Nov. 30.
“Since 2010, the airport has been operating under a land lease with Cadillac Fairview which has now reached a natural expiry, and they may look to redevelop the airport site at some time in the future,” the letter said.
The letter went on to thank staff, contractors and tenants.
“I’ve been flying out of here since the mid-’90s. It’s an awesome airport,” said Mark Brooks, who is a flight instructor and commercial pilot.
“A lot of pilots learn to fly here. Over the years, pilots flying for WestJet and Air Canada look back to the days where they learned to fly out of Buttonville.”
Brooks said Buttonville is a multi-use airport used for teaching, utility, business and general aviation.
“It’s very sad but we knew it was coming,” he said.
The area city councillor said there have been mixed emotions learning about Buttonville’s closure, adding that he has received multiple calls from constituents wanting to see it closed.
“It’s certainly going to be mixed feelings,” Markham Coun. Ritch Lau said.
“Transport Canada decided to close down the control tower here and ever since we have been seeing so many more incidents of aircrafts doing emergency landings … and that’s something the Markham residents and also our neighbours in Richmond Hill, they are so worried about.”
In January, a small plane crash-landed on a road near the airport.
Images online showed a small plane on the roadway, with vehicles initially having to drive around it before the road was closed.
The closure of Buttonville has renewed calls for an airport in Pickering.
“We have been advocating for Pickering for almost 13 years…. We are trying to get the message across about the need and the advantages of aviation. Aviation is the cornerstone of our economy,” said Brooks.
“You have private investors that want to build it. You have Durham council that has voted … in favour of a redevelopment plan with Pickering airport at its core.”
Global News reached out to Cadillac Fairview for comment on the closure of Buttonville but has not received a response.
— with Files from Ryan Rocca.