Airport plan doesn’t fly

Residents opposed to the extension of the runway at the airport

We thought we would send mayor and council a short note to express our disappointment in city council for considering the extension of the airport runway after it was not recommended by city staff.

It seems like we are limiting our development prospects at the end of Okanagan Lake with the potential of large track of land that could be developed as income-bearing property or high-tech park instead of an airport that continues to run at a loss or break even.

This facility seems to cater to a small but vocal group who house their airplanes there.

When I called about the assessment reductions in the past few years at my own home, I was told that it was because of the height restriction bylaw on my property as a result of the airport.

The results are from the high in 2009 to the low this year 2015, all this in six years. It was reduced by almost half its value. I’m not sure of anywhere in this city that this has happened.

Does that seem fair in a province where assessments are going through the roof?

What would the end be if this runway goes through to myself and all my neighbours’ values?

When we have the airport facility we have, couldn’t we cherish it, preserve it, and leave it the way it sits and make the very few airport users happy? Or turn it into a development that we as taxpayers don’t have to keep paying for?

Think about the very many non-airport user taxpayers that will pay even more for the privilege of having such an airport that they will/may never use. How much more will you ask of them and us?

It seems to me, the “if we build it they will come” theory does not make it OK to borrow or spend another up to $11 million on this small regional airport to make it possible for larger airplanes to land here (and make more noise than there already is)) when just 25 minutes away, we have a very wonderful large airport that handles that type of traffic in all conditions.

I pick up the paper and almost every time, there is an article about more city spending.

I remind you of the running track at $8 million, then there is the new arena at $10 million or more and there is the Performing Arts Centre and Kal Tire Place to pay off and a new art gallery and museum. At what cost?

It just seems the art gallery and museum are of more importance than an extension of the runway. At least more of the citizens of Vernon and area will benefit from them long before they benefit from an $11 million extension to this airport’s runway.

At what point do we as taxpayers get to stop for a moment from digging into our pockets for just a bit more?

Dave Lowry and Karen Edgeworth