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Safety concerns an issue for Parkland Airport group: TC

Nov. 4, 2013, Edmonton - Transport Canada has told the Parkland Airport Development Corp. that “certification may be required” on the aerodrome it is building on private property southeast of Spruce Grove.


November 4, 2013
By The Edmonton Journal

A certified aerodrome is also known as an airport. The plans had
called for a registered aerodrome, a development that requires no public
consultation process. Residents who are vehemently opposed to the
32-hectare development, which has been under construction on Sandhills
Road for six weeks, had implored Transport Canada to intervene on their
behalf. Members of the Anti-Aerodrome Co-operative said they are
concerned about noise, traffic and safety.

 

On Friday, a Transport
Canada spokesperson said in an email that the corporation must provide
by Nov. 25 “information about how the proposed Parkland Aerodrome will
address specific public interest and aviation safety concerns related to
wildlife management and emergency response procedures.”

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Edmonton-Spruce
Grove MP Rona Ambrose, who had also heard “loud and clear” from
concerned constituents, said she has been told that certification of the
aerodrome will in fact be required and that in addition to providing
both an airport wildlife management plan and an airport emergency plan,
the company will have to consult formally with residents who live in the
area of the development.

 

She also said the company will be
required to provide “a comprehensive project description to the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Agency, which may determine that an
environmental assessment is necessary, and that would then trigger even
further public consultations.”

 

Company president Robert Gilgen could not be reached for comment on Friday’s development.

 

Ambrose
said the wildlife management plan is necessary because of the
development’s proximity to the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary and
Wagner Natural Area, while the emergency plan requirement stems from
concerns expressed by the County of Parkland that the development would
not be able to access municipal water for firefighting purposes and had
not been required to provide an on-site alternative.

 

The nearest fire station is in Acheson. Ambrose said its response time to the development site would be 25 minutes.

 

Ambrose
said she repeatedly took the concerns of residents to federal Minister
of Transportation Lisa Raitt and is pleased with the outcome.

 

“What
Transport Canada has determined is that there is a public interest
issue at hand here, one on the environmental side, the other on the
safety issue related to the proximity to municipal water and the
potential firefighting capabilities necessary for a project like this.
The important thing here is that Transport Canada has taken into
consideration the concerns that were raised by Mayor (Rod) Shaigec and
the residents.”

 

The County of Parkland is opposed to the
development but had been unable to enforce a stop work order it issued
for Oct. 10 because the company maintained the aerodrome fell under the
jurisdiction of Transport Canada. And, following a court hearing on
Thursday that confirmed federal jurisdiction, the County was required by
a Court of Queen’s Bench justice to grant the company a haul permit for
gravel.

 

Following that decision, Parkland County issued a release
stating it had no further recourse because the company was not required
to obtain a development permit from the County.