How an air park company can communicate with its neighbours. Group north east of Toronto actually meets with its residents.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. June 26, 2013.  There is usually a better way – we often can`t see it because we don`t want to see it.  Our stubbornness gets in the way.  My Mother used to say to me, when I was about to make a fool of myself again: I see you are going to cut off your nose to spite your face.”  It took many years for me to fully understand what she was trying to teach me.

Those people who attended that meeting in a barn hayloft on Bell School Line sat and listened to Vince Rossi, owner of the Burlington Air Park as he said time and again that he would “take it under advisement” whenever people asked him to do something.

To be fair to Rossi – there were some pretty stupid asks but the point was clear to everyone; Vince Rossi isn’t going to do a damn thing unless he is forced to.  Many thought the meeting was a waste of time before it was held and are doing the “I told you so” thing.  But the meeting had to be held; the community had to show that it would come to the table and listen.

Vince Rossi, owner of the Burlington Air PArk is keeping pretty good political company. He has Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion in his corner  as well as Burlington Ward 6 Council member Blair Lancaster. The ward residents are opposed to the airport expansion.

What they heard was a man on a mission determined to make his dream come true and if the property of some people is destroyed, well that’s the cost of progress.  Rossi put it rather crudely when he said to one property owner that if they didn’t want airport problems they shouldn’t have bought property beside an airport.  Problem with that response was that property owner was there before the airport.

This situation could be handled differently.  There is another small airport in Tottenham, south of Barrie just off the 400 highway.  They too are expanding and they too are bringing in landfill.

Known as the Volk Aerodrome on Hwy 9 is under new ownership, Tottenham Airfield Corporation owned by Toronto businessman John Bailey.

Bailey brought in a communications group that sends out information. The airport corporation said they were doing “An enhancement of the existing airfield  and once a draft master plan has been completed – expected later this year – it will be shared with the local community.”

The news release went on to say: “We believe there is a tremendous potential to provide high quality aviation services at a small local airfield, particularly with the planned closing of the Buttonville Airport in Markham, the increased interest in recreational flying, and the increase in tourism and development in the Simcoe area.”

The Volk Aerodrome has been the subject of intense opposition from its neighbours who have pleaded with the Town to stop the fill operation that had been taking place over the past few months. Growing volumes of truck traffic in and out of the site caught the attention of the Ministry of Transportation which suspended entrance permits until several conditions were implemented.

Volk put together a contractual arrangement with the Green Soils group of companies. Green Soils is highly respected and specializes in the movement and remediation of soil. (…) with this single-source supplier arrangement, a strong level of control can be placed on the amount and quality of soils entering the site, as well as all trucking activity.”

Volk has set up a telephone hotline for enquiries about the airfield.  A general manager for the company will be hired in the coming weeks, and the Volk family will continue to manage the airfield and flight school operations.

Tottenham Airfield Corporation Inc. is holding a community open house to seek input into the site plan, provide information about the enhancement project and answer questions from members of the community.

It can be done differently but for reasons that only Vince Rossi understands he is going to attempt to bulldoze his way through this in the belief that he holds the trump card: he is federally regulated.

Rossi has pulled in some powerful allies.  His relationship with Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion is strong enough for her to fax material to the federal minister of finance on behalf of the Burlington Air Park.

Burlington’s Mayor Goldring will be meeting with McCallion to see what can be done to have her have some respect for Burlington and allow us to develop our own plans.

For reasons that only she understands, Blair Lancaster, Ward 6 Councillor chose to seat herself beside Air Park owner Vince Rossi during a meeting between a resident association that is opposed to the dumping of landfill on airport property and would like to know much more about what the long-term plans are for the Air Park. The council member appears to be telling her constituents where she sits

Rossi appears to have almost completely co-opted the ward council member.  At a meeting of residents of the community and the organization set up to battle the airport plans, Blair Lancaster chose to sit beside Rossi throughout the meeting – not the best political optics but perhaps Lancaster thinks she has the votes she needs to win her Council seat south of Dundas.  She appears to be doing next to nothing for the people who have organized themselves to get some information on what is happening to their community.

Lancaster has lost the support she had north of the Hwy 407/Dundas line.

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