Restrictions needed to protect future of airport

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The future of development around the Kincardine airport will be determined through GPS mapping.
Kincardine council agreed, Sept. 3, to use a GPS approach system for navigation at the aerodrome. The airport governance committee also suggested height restrictions around the runways to ensure development won’t interfere with flight plans.

"If we want to protect the airport, we need to have this in place," said councillor Ron Hewitt. "I know it won't always be easy."

Using the GPS system, the committee, along with Pryde, Schropp McComb, created vicinity mapping, outlining the maximum heights for developments within the area immediately surrounding the runways and their flight plans.

According to the mapping, no structure can be built higher than 896 feet above sea level within the affected area. The restricted zone runs west to the lakeshore and well past Highway 21 to the east. To the north, it includes land up to the Cruikshank wind development.

The committee is seeking to change Kincardine's zoning bylaws to prohibit tall developments within the airport's range. The project will ensure the airport can continue to operate safely and leaves the door open for an expansion of the existing runways.
The GPS system allows for more accurate approaches and helped the committee to lessen the area affected by the height restriction. The project has an estimated cost of $25,000, but it will be split equally between Bruce Power, Suncor and the municipality.

Deputy mayor Laura Haight listened to the committee’s presentation, but was concerned that permanently restricting development could hurt Kincardine in the long‑run.

"Are we killing a fly with a sledgehammer?" she said. "I get the premise, but I'm not sure this is absolutely necessary at this time."

The committee's presentation was the end of a year‑long process to get vicinity mapping in place. The group will now meet with Bruce County’s planners to determine if the restrictions are part of a zoning bylaw or an amendment to the official plan. The issue will come back to council for a series of public meetings before a final decision is made. CAO John deRosenroll expects a final decision sometime in February.

*The airport committee's Don Jones also spoke to council regarding the committee's overall progress. He said the airport has a mission statement and a vision for the future. In the near future, the committee is focusing on six objectives to keep the airport viable: maintaining financial stability, improving customer service, improving public awareness and support for the airport, developing plans to protect its future, annually updating infrastructure renewal plans and keeping in compliance with Transport Canada regulations.