During this week’s City Council budget deliberations, the hot topic of discussion and debate was the planned expansion of Kingston’s Norman Rogers Airport. Earlier this year City Council identified both the extension of the existing runway and the expansion of the airport terminal as key infrastructure priorities for the 2015-2018 term of Council. However during our budget meetings there were some questions and concerns expressed by a couple of City Councillors about moving ahead with the project.
In order to ensure that the airport expansion is completed within this term of council, the work needs to start next year, which means that the funding for the expansion must be included in the 2016 budget. The budget will be formally approved by City Council on December 15th, and so in advance of that decision, here are my top 7 reasons why we need to invest in a new and improved Kingston airport:
1. An expanded airport will make it more convenient and cheaper for residents to fly out of Kingston rather than driving to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa or Syracuse.
2. An expanded airport will boost economic development in the city.
3. An expanded airport will help KEDCO attract more conferences and sporting events to the city to boost local tourism supporting our community and a healthy downtown.
4. If we don’t expand our airport, we risk losing the air service that we have.
5. A larger airport terminal will allow more than one airline to operate in Kingston, creating competition and lower prices for flights.
6. A longer runway will allow for longer distance flights out of Kingston, to destinations well beyond Toronto and Ottawa.
7. An expanded airport terminal will create an important first impression to business travellers, tourists and other visitors that Kingston is a modern, growing, smart and livable city.