Misleading Statements by Expansion Proponents

An expansion will not reduce noise and more frequent, larger aircraft will be flying over the family residences of Oshawa and Whitby

It has come to our attention that the Airport, expansion proponents, and members of the Airport Advisory Committee are still trying to pull the wool over the community's eyes by stating the following:

1. A runway expansion "could minimize noise by allowing planes to climb out sooner". (Stephen Wilcox, Airport Manager, quoted from the Oshawa This Week, December 8, 2011).

2. A runway expansion does not mean that larger planes will be frequenting the airport.

Although these topics have been previously discussed and posted on the website, we feel that it is important to once again address these statements. To address these statements, we refer directly to the
Genivar Report (i.e. Oshawa Municipal Airport Runway Expansion/Buttonville Airport Closure Impact Assessment).

Regarding Statement #1: A runway expansion "could minimize noise by allowing planes to climb out sooner". (Quoted from the Oshawa This Week, December 8, 2011).

C.O.R.E. Response:
The Oshawa Municipal Airport Runway Expansion/Buttonville Airport Closure Impact Assessment (Attachment #3 of Item #DS-11-392) clearly states in Section 7.1 (page 344 of DS-11-392) regarding Runway 30 Departures that "only those aircraft requiring the 5,000 ft. would be directed to the new threshold."

Therefore, any existing noise that we currently experience will not be mitigated by an expansion of the runway. The report is stating that the departure threshold and climbs of aircraft that can be accommodated by the current 4000 ft. will remain the same. The expansion will introduce more traffic in the form of the type of aircraft that requires more than 4000 ft. to depart and land. Therefore, how does an expansion help minimize the existing noise we experience now?

Regarding Statement #2: A runway expansion does not mean that larger planes will be frequenting the airport.

C.O.R.E. Response:
Let's put aside the topic of a new "scheduled air carrier service" for now. The Oshawa Municipal Airport Runway Expansion/Buttonville Airport Closure Impact Assessment (Attachment #3 of Item #DS-11-392) clearly states in Section 1.3 (page 317 of DS-11-392) that the expansion of the runway is required in order to acquire additional corporate jet aircraft traffic. It then further details examples of the type and size of corporate aircraft they are targeting to acquire (Figure 1.1). This example shows that the airport would be targeting the business of corporations that have aircraft in their fleet that are up to approximately 52% larger in physical dimensions than what the airport can currently accommodate with a 4000 ft. runway.

Furthermore, questions have been raised, and not yet appropriately answered, as to the possibility of even larger aircraft being able to land on a runway of 5000 ft. We have already ascertained that, depending on the amount of fuel and cargo payload, some models of the Boeing 737 are able to land on a runway of 5000 ft. (see Notes on Aircraft Size below). But the real point is this: Once the runway is expanded to 5000 ft., the door is open for the economic ambitions of the Airport and Politicians to exploit it. Once approval is provided for the expansion to proceed, the Airport and Politicians will be squeezing out any economic benefit to justify their expenditure and the community's quality of life will take a back seat to this.

Make no mistake. No matter how they spin it, an expansion will not reduce noise and more frequent, larger aircraft will be flying over the family residences of Oshawa and Whitby, contributing to detriment of the environment and our right to feel safe and exist in quality living conditions!

This expansion must not be allowed to take place for the simple fact that if we give them an inch, they will take a mile!

Genivar Report - Appendix A (pg 356 and 357)

Looking at the "to scale" CAD drawing of the 12/30 runway extension and associated infrastructure, the existing airport boundary at the NW end of the proposed runway 12/30 extension does not appear to provide sufficient space for the mandatory 150m Runway End Safety Area (RESA). How will the RESA be accommodated at this location? Will it cross the existing airport boundary? A "to scale" CAD drawing, showing the 150m RESAs at both ends of the extended 12/30 runway, should be provided to show the location of these safety areas in relation to the airport boundaries and surrounding area & features.

Gemini Gymnastics exists immediately to the west of the proposed SE extension of runway 12/30. The City of Oshawa Official Plan (Airport - section 2.10) has specific requirements with respect to noise exposure in the areas of day care facilities, schools and health care facilities. Gemini Gymnastics provides a learning environment for children and teens of varying ages. What are the noise-related implications for this facility? Will there be violations of the existing City of Oshawa Official Plan requirements relating to this? Given that a significantly larger number of gas turbine jet aircraft (also larger aircraft) will be running at full take off power immediately beside this facility, what are the health related impacts of this? Do we want children breathing in the resulting combustion by-products of larger and more frequent gas-turbine-powered aircraft, especially during vigorous exercise?

Transport Canada Mandates Runway End Safety Area - Makes for a very tight fit

Genivar Report - Section 2.1 - Proposed (Runway) Design
"To accommodate Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) zoning requirements, a displacement of 265 ft would be required for runway 30."

This displaced threshold artificially reduces the length of runway 30 (for landings only) by 265 ft, to satisfy surface obstacle height limitations on landing approach. In other words, aircraft can't land any earlier than this point on runway 30 because, per the OLS zoning requirements, they will be too low for the "obstacles" on the approach!

What ensures that aircraft landing on runway 30 won't undershoot the artificially displaced location? In this scenario the aircraft would be too low per the OLS zoning requirements.

Furthermore, the runway end safety area at this end of the runway would be of questionable effectiveness for landings as the approaching aircraft would have to be that much lower (and even closer to surface obstacles) to make use of the RESA in an undershoot scenario.

This aspect of the design proposal only reinforces the fact that the runway extension is shoe-horning in a runway that is too long for the available space and surrounding geography / development. It would be interesting to know what "things" are violating the surface obstacle requirements and requiring this 265 ft displacement for landings.

Considering that this particular end of the runway is completely surrounded by residential development, does city staff understand the implications of this runway design aspect?

Questions related to apparent contradictions between the data provided in the Genivar Report, Transport Canada requirements, and the City of Oshawa Official Plan.

1. Noise exposure studies conducted by Genivar are described to include all predicted increases in movements outlined by the report as well as an additional “2% growth in current itinerant traffic for the next 5 years”. With this assumption, the resulting noise exposure model suggests that “the airport has the capacity to absorb additional itinerant air traffic volumes while not compromising the previously approved and adopted 2005 NEF contours”. Why was 2% growth in current itinerant traffic an assumption of the model? Is this an appropriate growth assumption? Including the predicted increase in movements, how much additional growth needs to take place before the City approved 2005 NEF contours are no longer adhered to? What will be the resulting impact to the surrounding communities and which areas will be most affected?

2. Related to the issue of noise, the Genivar report indicates that “The City of Oshawa established a 'boundary' by limiting aviation activity such that the resulting noise contours would not expand significantly beyond those limits established in the official City approved 2005 NEF contours”. This verbiage suggests that the resulting noise contours are allowed to expand beyond the limits of the City approved 2005 contours. Why is this allowed? Precisely how will this affect the neighbouring communities and will there be violations of the approved contours and/or the noise requirements described in section 2.10 (Airport) of the City of Oshawa Official Plan? The city of Oshawa Official Plan also stipulates several specific noise related provisions with respect to day care centres, schools and health care facilities. Many schools exist directly adjacent to the airport. Furthermore, the Lakeridge Health Centre is very close to the 12/30 runway glidepath. What are the impacts to these facilities and institutions? Once again, will there be violations of the requirements of the Official Plan?

3. Transport Canada is planning to move ahead with a mandated 150m (492 ft.) Runway End Safety Area (RESA) requirement, to be located at both ends of a runway strip. This will be the minimum requirement, the goal of which is to limit the potential danger of an airplane overshooting or undershooting the runway. Considering the runway extension itself, as well as the need to meet the 150m RESA requirement, how close will the RESAs be located to existing residential developments, especially at the SE end of runway 12/30? The recommended RESA length per the International Civil Aviation Organization is actually 300m. Given the real estate and zoning constraints of the airport, this likely won’t even fit on the Oshawa Airport property. Considering the high concentration of residential homes in line with runway 12/30, is Council comfortable with: - the extreme close proximity of the RESA to Residences at the SE of runway 12/30 - the fact that the ICAO recommended 300m RESA can not be implemented?

4. Related to the Runway End Safety Areas, do the height provisions of the Federal Aeronautics Act (a provision of the Oshawa City Plan, section 2.10) need to be honoured when an aircraft undershoots the runway and touches down on the RESA? If so, and assuming an airplane approaches from the SE, it is unlikely that these height provisions can be met given the immediate proximity of housing to the SE end of the 12/30 runway. The Genivar report already suggests that there are existing violations with respect to these Federal height provisions.

5. Weight capacities of existing and proposed runway, ramp, taxiways are not specified in the Genivar report. What is the weight capacity of the 12/30 runway (existing area, as well as proposed extended areas)? What is the weight capacity of the ramp area and taxiways to service this runway? Will the weight capacities be increased during the extension? Will the weight capacities be increased when the runway requires refurbishment in the next few years? Will these capacities support larger commercial jet aircraft (and not just at max fuel / payload capacity... what about lower fuel and payloads which are still suitable for the intended uses)?

6. Per the City of Oshawa Official Plan (Airport – section 2.10): "The City shall have regard for the continued viability of the Oshawa Municipal Airport in the consideration of any development or redevelopment of lands in the vicinity of the airport". Given that the city has allowed housing to continue to develop around the airport, the proposed runway extension is conflict with this provision of the Airport section of Oshawa’s Official Plan. The new development to the south end of the Airport is still under construction.

7. Under a “mature aviation activity scenario” the Genivar study estimates an approximate additional revenue of $600,000/yr for the airport (offset by $50,000 to $100,000 in additional costs), with a similar $600,000/yr in projected property tax benefits. This is fractional in comparison to the combined lost property value for local residents. Who is going to cover this cost? Since residents are members of the city, it is a real and actual cost to the city. All costs should be studied and covered by the expansion. If the costs far exceed the potential revenue generation then simple logic dictates that the business case does not make sense. As a simple math exercise, a 5% decrease in property values for 1500 homes in the vicinity of the airport amounts to more than $22 Million in lost property values. If properties lose 10% of their value, this approaches $50 Million! How many years will it take for the fractional incremental airport revenue to cover this tremendous loss?

8. The study by Genivar doesn't address the "potential scheduled air carrier" (and associated types of aircraft) issue at all. The report focuses on the benefits of lengthening the runway for corparate jet type aircraft. Is the Genivar report, which deals specifically with infrastructure/runway length improvements for corporate type jet aircraft, being used to justify and support commercial airline activity which is drastically different?

9. Why is the Seneca flight School, which does not require the runway to be lengthened, being grouped in together with the runway expansion? Furthermore, why is the "scheduled air carrier" proposal being grouped in with the Genivar study which doesn't address that at all? These are all separate issues that should be debated and approved separately:
(A) Flight School / Seneca activity
(B) Lengthening runway to support increased corporate jet activity (as studied by Genivar)
(C) Lengthening the runway to support increased corporate jet & scheduled commercial air carrier aircraft (which has substantially larger impacts and requires significantly more work and investment than what was studied by Genivar)

Runway Expansion with respect to the Airport Business Plan (2008-2012)

Airport Business Plan available here:
http://www.oshawa.ca/agendas/Development_Services/2008/02-25/DS-08-069-2008_Airport_Business_Plan.pdf (note large .pdf file).

The Plan includes a February 20, 2008 report from the Development Services Department to the Development Services Committee, the Proposed Airport Business Plan (2008-2012), the 2005 Economic Impact Study, and the 25 Year Capital Plan (2008-2032).

To our surprise this now proposed runway expansion is only mentioned in 3 areas of the Business Plan as quoted below:

As a Strength: "The existing 4000 ft. x 100 ft. and 2670 ft. x 100 ft. runways provide an optimal layout for the mixed recreational, flight training and corporate use of the airport. The 4000 ft. main runway provides an acceptable “balanced field length” for most medium to heavy corporate aircraft users. The 4000 ft. main runway length also serves as a natural limitation to larger commercial jet aircraft." (emphasis ours).

As a Weakness: "The 4000 ft. runway length is insufficient to economically conduct either broad domestic or US trans-continental operations and effectively limits the commuter turbo-prop and corporate jet aircraft to an operating range of 500 nautical miles or 1½ hour flying time."

As an Additional Initiative: "The 4000 ft. length of runway 12/30 was identified as both a strength and weakness during the SWOT analysis by airport stakeholders. Aircraft noise, particularly in the communities located beyond the ends of the runway, was identified as a weakness during the SWOT analysis by airport stakeholders. The height of an aircraft as it passes over an area directly impacts the noise generated. Transport Canada is currently examining the potential to extend the end of runways for take off and landing overrun purposes only. In this scenario, the original landing touch down location will not change. The net effect of a runway end extension will be an increase in the height that an aircraft will over-fly the community on the departure end of the runway thus reducing the noise profile of the runway. The additional effect will be to provide an increased accelerated stop distance for departing aircraft and an additional overrun for aircraft landing from the opposite end of the runway. A runway end extension may also be suitable for runway 04/22. The potential for runway end extensions is to be examined in 2009 and a cost benefit analysis prepared for Council consideration."

Nowhere in the Business Plan does it state that the extension is to be used to accommodate additional and/or larger aircraft. Furthermore, the existing 4000ft runway length was heralded as a Strength as it provides "an acceptable balanced field length for most medium to heavy corporate aircraft users. The 4000 ft. main runway length also serves as a natural limitation to larger commercial jet aircraft". Let's read this again, "a natural limitation to larger commercial jet aircraft" listed as a Strength in the Airport Business Plan. Any expansion of the runways were meant strictly for "take off and landing overrun purposes only". The Airport, the Development Services Department, Councillor Bruce Wood, and the Airport Advisory Committee seem to want to extend the runway for a different purpose than what the Business Plan mentions.

Within the 25 Year Capital Plan, there was no mention or allowance for the $3-4 million related to the runway expansion. In fact, it actually states that the existing runway will require a major overhaul within 4 years at a projected cost of $1,410,500. And will require revised edge lighting by 2019 at a projected cost of $371,250.

It seems that the actual intents laid out in the Business Plan are being deviated from. Furthermore, the expansion would put the "natural limitation to larger commercial jet aircraft" in jeopardy.
Perhaps the Airport, Councillor Bruce Wood, COPA members, and all other proponents of this deviation should review Section 11 (Airport Marketing Strategy) of the Business Plan and concentrate on increasing clientele and developing the airport lots without spending additional millions for an unnecessary runway expansion which clearly has an intended purpose that deviates from the original intent.

It also seems that the original purpose of looking into an expansion took on a completely new aura in the Development Services Department's February 2, 2011 report (DS-11-86). They simply stated that "the Plan identified the need to examine the merits of a main runway extension". They also stated that "examining the potential for runway extensions was a key initiative within the Airport Business Plan". As previously shown above, the runway expansion was not a "key initiative", it was an "additional initiative" for
take off and landing overrun purposes only. Nor did the Business Plan mention that it was required for new business. In fact, new business due to an extension would likely cancel out or detriment any reduction in noise profile as referred to in the Business Plan (and also being hyped by proponents) as frequency of movements are a factor in the NEF and NEP modelling. The DS-11-86 document can be found as an attachment to DS-11-219 at http://www.oshawa.ca/agendas/Development_Services/2011/06-23-Airport/%5CDS-11-219-Runway-Extension-Study.pdf

That being said, it may be appropriate to go so far as to state that the Genivar Report is out of order. The Genivar Report recommends an expansion mainly based on speculation of increased corporate traffic that would specifically require a longer runway to accommodate their larger aircraft. Once again, deviating from the originally proposed Airport Business Plan and 25 Year Capital Plan. The Development Services Department and the Airport Advisory Committee have based their recommendation of this expansion to the Development Services Committee on the deviant Genivar Report and their own new interpretation of what the approved Airport Business Plan details. It would therefore stand to reason that the recommendation should be put into question by the Development Services Committee and the entire City Council as the recommendation deviates from the Airport Business Plan (2008-2012).