Airports and development don’t mix

Last week Hamilton’s City Council approved a development virtually across the road from the Mount Hope Airport (John C. Munro, Hamilton International Airport). Altogether the approval of the Hotz and Son Development will allow the building of 271 single family houses and 440 townhouses.

Problems abound with this development. Because the project has been on the books for several years it falls under planning rules that were replaced at least five years ago. Even the ward councillor who moved acceptance of the project, Brenda Johnson, admitted that it probably would not be approved today because it is exempted from rules protecting ecologically significant areas and rules around airport noise.

Across Ontario residents are complaining of noise, pollution, and increased traffic caused by airports. That is particularly true of the communities around Pearson International, and residents close to Billy Bishop, on Toronto’s Waterfront, have pointed to many different problems.

Hamilton council has ignored all of this. The property that will be developed is across the road from the Warplane Heritage Museum, a recently built air cargo facility, and is kitty corner from the airport itself. The airport has advised that they are opposed to the development.

The development plan also does not take into account that there are plans to extend the north-south runway of the airport, and the city has spent $10 million to acquire land for the extension. If the extension is built it will greatly increase the noise from the airport.

The problem is not just the airport. It is a Hamilton City Council whose members are in favour of development of almost any kind. Regulations around airport noise have been put in place to protect the public. Here is a flagrant use of legal loopholes to approve a development and by-pass regulations. It is inviting trouble.

With the help of Hamilton CATCH.