SCUGOG: Despite the expiration of a provincial permit, work on the proposed Greenbank Airport expansion continues as all parties involved await the issuance of another interim work permit from the Ministry of Transportation.
The issue was raised by Ward 1 Councillor Larry Corrigan during a discussion of the project this week, which is currently undergoing review at the provincial level to potentially double the number of trucks shipping fill to the property, from the current limit of 200 up to 400. That increase is not expected to happen until after a number of conditions have been met, such as improved truck washing facilities to control mud and soil on the roadway, as well as a new entranceway to the facility.
The project, which came to light in early 2012 and was the subject of numerous public meetings and concerns over a major commercial fill operation, was originally supposed to see 2.5 million cubic metres of soil dumped over two to three years to facilitate the extension of a runway.
Scugog CAO Bev Hendry explained at a committees meeting this Monday (Oct. 21) that while shipments of dirt continue to arrive at the Hwy. 47 aviation facility, provincial staff have expressed no concerns with the operation continuing in anticipation of a new interim permit from the MTO, after the initial permit expired earlier this month. According to Ms. Hendry, that new permit could be ready next week. In early October, Scugog councillors approved a new interim site alteration permit for the project at the municipal level, one of three such permits that govern the operation (a third permit has been issued by the Region of Durham).
Ms. Hendry also explained that following a number of concerns expressed by residents of Goodwood in Uxbridge Township, a truck study for Regional Rd. 21 has been undertaken by Durham Public Works staff.
According to Ms. Hendry, Regional staff have indicated that the 2012 average is 1,223 trucks per day traveling along the road, with the airport project adding only an estimated 75 trucks per day to the current traffic volume.
As for complaints from Goodwood residents that the airport is to blame for all of the increased truck traffic, she added that "there are at least five other major projects going on in North Durham" that could account for the increase. The truck study is expected to be complete sometime next spring.
In response to an inquiry by Ward 4 Councillor Wilma Wotten, Public Works Director Ian Roger described the airport project as a scapegoat for critics concerned over potential traffic increases.
"The short answer is here’s the target people can kick at," said Mr. Roger. "Truck traffic has always been there and now this seems to be the target of choice."
The truck traffic along Regional Rd. 21 has also been a bone of contention between Scugog and Uxbridge councils, with some Uxbridge councillors criticizing their Scugog counterparts for a perceived lack of control over the project. This week, another Scugog councillor fired back at comments made across Lakeridge Rd.
"I’m concerned that several Uxbridge councillors said that we don’t know how many trucks are going into Greenbank," said Ward 5 Councillor Howard Danson, citing quotes from Uxbridge councillors previously published in The Standard. "Is anyone going to tell them that yes, we do know how many are going there? Someone needs to tell Uxbridge that they need to look after their end of things in Goodwood and we’ll look after the 200 trucks in Greenbank."