Shortsightedness and a lack of vision will kill our future economic possibilities. Runways, shipping lines, railway tracks and roads do not make any money themselves – they are all enablers, connecting business to business, province to province, and opportunity to opportunity, in a timely fashion. Without them, we are doomed and, probably, hardly any new corporations will relocate here, as you’ve probably already noticed.
Arriving from the United States, Sarnia’s Chris Hadfield Airport is the gateway to Canada. It is owned by the City of Sarnia and is our best asset, second only to the river and lake waterfront. The airport has, recently, been very much misreported. I will correct a few details.
The runways are all well within the aviation standards and guidelines for width and length. Any type of plane can land there – jets, helicopters, private planes (large and small), commercial airlines, and even Lancaster Bombers for air shows.
When Great Lakes Airlines ran the airport (1958-1983), they flew Fokkers, which could carry 60 passengers (not 30, as reported by a Greater Toronto Area consultant recently).
With Air Canada stopping its Sarnia service in May this year, it was reported that revenue would drop about 80 per cent. That does not mean they wouldn’t still make a profit. That just means the profit will would be much smaller.
There are three businesses being run on the city-owned airport (lands and buildings) – Scottsdale Aviation, Huron Aviation and the Flight Centre & Scenic Planes. What we need to know now is the continuing total dollar income per year from all the stakeholders to the airport, and all the pilots have already bought into 40-year leases. This will enable the city to establish a path forward while every opportunity is being carefully sought after and analyzed.
We were so proud of our local astronaut, Cmdr. Chris Hadfield, that we named the airport after him as a permanent legacy to his great space achievements, and his father, who was one of the very first flight trainers when the airport was first established by Bill Moon in the early 1950s. Tourism could do much more with this great local story.
The airport is used for many, many reasons, but one vitally important reason is to support the medical field. Organ donations have to be delivered very quickly to those in need and Bluewater Health relies upon jets coming in and out of the airport – sometimes four at a time – to transport these lifelines all over the county.
We now have CIMC Vanguard moving their business into the expanded UBE Building, which is right next to the airport. It makes sense that industry should have an excellent air freight service available to its manufacturing operations, too.
Time is of the essence. Please support our domestic economy, and the future of many generations to come, by voting to enhance and continue the much-needed services of the Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport.