Friday, August 27, 2010

Close City Center Airport?

Some of the Edmonton "news" media folks are really pushing hard with stories that appear very one sided.  Both news articles and Columnists have been trying to bias you with little innuendos that are geared to make you go "what the fuck!".  So, ok.. what the fuck!  Believe those stories as being true.

But consider this.

Add in the estimated $90 plus million to buy out the leases that run till 2052.  Add in the costs of cleaning up the land after decades of aviation contaminants getting into the soil (this must be done before a single structure of residential type has started) plus the costs of upgrading the entire infrastructure (this means making the sewers larger in the core area, to handle the extra connections that would be needed to "house" 30,000 people, added water capacity, electrical capacity etc) and I bet you could easily be looking at another $300 million total.  Add in the projections that it can take 20 years to do these types of things.  Also know that the tax base that "fills" these residential units will most certainly NOT be all "new" residents, so the figures saying "oh we will make millions in taxes" does not necessarily mean it will be NEW income but some of it will be SHIFTED income coming from another area of the City.

Even if we forget ALL of that, and can have an 'instant hit' on our hands, what about the medivac portion of the role that the CCA plays?  Oh yes, you've already read all of the reports that say we can time the lights better between EIA and Edmonton (I would imagine that would be done just the same as all of the wonderful timing we have on the lights in the city now) and that we can just as easily transfer people from EIA to the two primary hospitals (UAH and RAH) by helicopter.  You do know helicopters can't fly in the rain or snow, right?  And we never have big downpours of rain, and the snow is always polite to us here so for sure we can always use helicopters...

OH WAIT! But we can *eventually* make more MONEY!  After all, some say the CCA costs us money (it doesn't but I won't go there either) so why keep it?

Hospitals cost us money. Doctors cost us money. Health care in general costs us MONEY.  So, do we close and terminate all of those services too?  If we don't have the will to invest in this issue alone... for a huge role that the CCA *does* provide is medivac services... we will certainly be the cause of doom for someones family in the future.  Oh, I can hear the words coming already... FEAR MONGER!!!  And for those people who believe that to be true, I feel sympathy for you, because you just can't see the truth.

They say that about 80,000 actions take place at the CCA, and around 4,000 of those are medivac related. They say that about 10% of those medivac transports are classified as "critical".  They can be accident victims, they can be neo-natal cases, they can be transplant organs... they can be someone you know.  So 400 critical cases a year, that's over 1 per day.

Let's hope that when all of the medivac is sent to EIA, that every day is a perfect day without rain, without storms, without blowing snow...  And don't forget, when the weather OUTSIDE of the City is that bad, the *chances* of landing at the City Center will be higher.  Weather conditions (for aircraft) are generally better within the City than outside of the City.

Let's also not forget some of those other "hidden" costs. EIA based 'everything' will mean adding in a 24/7 presence of city police (Yes, Air 1 and 2 will be at the EIA... ops, longer flight time for the air cops to respond) and ambulance staff and vehicles.  Let's not forget that if the weather is bad, these medivac transports by law, will be required to carry additional fuel to make it to an alternate airport (just in case the weather is bad).  Medivac pilots say that alternate is Calgary.

But of course, all you really want to do is make money right?  So ya... let's just close the airport and be instantly richer.

I trust you aren't going to choke on the sand that you have your head in... The medivac transport is going to take 30 minutes longer under the best of conditions.  And if it's done via STARS well hell, that's only $2,500 per hour..  So um..  exactly how much are we saving again?


  1. During the public meetings in 2008 Councilor Sohi said that 85% of the 30,000 people expected to populate this 'urban utopia' will be Edmontonians moving from the suburbs. This means that only 15% of the 93M would be new tax revenue. It's also misleading to think of this $$$ as 'revenue' since residential taxes cover the cost of running a city and only a VERY small portion is available for new capital expenditure.

    The other dollar value that council likes to throw around is $500M to sell the land which does not include the cost of reclamation, lease buyouts or financing costs to add water and sewer lines.

    The city already offered the land up for bidding and no developer was interested. The city admitted as much during the hearings in 2008. This is why the city has decided to develop it themselves.

    I did not elect these politicians so that they can use our tax dollars to be land developers.