Apparently Edmonton has a municipal airport a stone’s throw away from the centre of town. It’s called Edmonton City Centre Airport (also known as Blatchford Field), and has been around in some form or another since 1929. Google Maps says it’s 4.4 km from the airport to Edmonton’s City Hall, or seven minutes of driving time.
I gather that the airport is used for regional flights and private air travel. It also gets annually converted into a race track for the Edmonton Indy. Larger aircraft and international flights come through the Edmonton International Airport, which is 26 km southwest of the city centre.
According to the CBC, there’s been a long debate about the airport’s future:
Some of the people who have made submissions to the public hearing want the downtown airport closed and the land developed into a transit-oriented community with housing for thousands of people, along with commercial and retail space.
Other presenters have told city councillors the airport must stay open because it is vital for the business community. They describe it as a hub to the north and argue that it is critical for medevac flights. About 4,000 medevac flights a year go through the facility.
I learned about this whole business from Mack’s site. He’s started NotMyAirport.ca (here’s the associated Facebook group), which argues for replacing the airport with “a new transit-oriented, green community”, as well as an expansion of Edmoton’s NAIT campus. Removal of the airport would also apparently change building height limitations in the city, which is a good thing. A dense city, after all, is a healthy city.
Mack launched his site in response to SaveOurAirport.ca, which argues that the airport “plays a vital role in making Edmonton one of CanadaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leading health centres, as a hub for air ambulance and other essential health services for all of Alberta, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.” This claim is disputed by the CEO of Edmonton Airports in the aforementioned CBC article, who says “”what the City Centre Airport offers is a tremendous amount of convenience for corporate travellers and those people who live in the downtown area and have private aircraft.”
Are you an Edmontonian? What do you think of this debate?