Saturday, February 24, 2024

Questions About Billy Bishop Regional Airport


My name is Andy Plater, and I have some questions. I’m a Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructor based out of the Owen Sound Billy Bishop regional airport, and I’m concerned by the recommendation by City Manager Tim Simmonds to close the Billy Bishop airport.

I think it’s best if I ask these questions ‘face to face’, so I’ve linked a video with my questions. It may be a bit long for some, so I included links in the description to jump ahead to the sections you may be most interested in. I’ve also summarized my questions below:

I’ve also sent this letter to the City Clerk. I understand my video wouldn’t be played during the July 19th council meeting (today), I’m hoping my questions to council may be fit in:

  1. What is the true economic impact of the Billy Bishop airport? Would we consider an economic impact study to see the indirect community losses of airport closure?
  2. Why must the facility pay for itself? Some municipal assets do pay for themselves, others don’t, how are these decisions made?
  3. What is the current serviceability of the asphalt at the runway? Could we look at an engineering report to estimate lifespan, repair costs, and load rating?
  4. How does the Billy Bishop airport fit into the Owen Sound and Grey Bruce emergency management plans? What would be the impact on time to evacuate or get help into the community in a major disaster? How is the air ambulance system affected?

In the video I’ve also added some questions for the Constituents of our region, and our Federal and Provincial representation:

For citizens and taxpayers:

  1. Do you think the Billy Bishop airport is an asset, or a liability? and why?
  2. Do you know of all types of aircraft that can land at Billy Bishop and the roles they serve?
  3. What will you personally lose, or gain if the airport closes?

For Bill Walker and Alex Ruff:

  1. How will operations of Medevac, OPP, and Military be affected in our communities if Billy Bishop airport closes?
  2. What is the financial impact of this change? Look at fixed wing air ambulances replaced for more expensive rotary wing, and further distances to the nearest airport increasing logistics, number of aircraft, and specialist staff operating costs.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my questions and thoughts!

Andy Plater
Flight Instructor – Owen Sound Billy Bishop Regional Airport

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