City of Hamilton’s Airport Employment Growth District

Environment Hamilton is writing to ask your association to consider registering as a “participant” at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing on the City of Hamilton’s Airport Employment Growth District (aka the “aerotropolis”).

Registrations were closed but a city error has opened the doors for more resident groups to formally comment on the aerotropolis plans. All you have to do is send a rep to a meeting on Wed. February 15 at 10:30 a.m. at the Hamilton Convention Centre to register your neighbourhood association as a participant. Your association will then have the chance to make a written and oral statement to the OMB expressing your views on the plan, no earlier than this fall.

Participant status does not require attending all the OMB hearings, and participants are not subject to cross-examination. You don’t need a lawyer or a planner or a significant amount of time–you just need to care about the future of the city and the impact a planning decision of this magnitude will have on your neighbourhood.

Why should neighbourhood associations care?
Hamilton is already $2 billion in the hole for infrastructure maintenance. City officials admit that repairs to existing roads, recreation centres, seniors’ centres, affordable housing, transit and other city-operated facilities are being postponed or abandoned because we can’t afford them. If we were to pay for fixing what’s already broken it would amount to a permanent 25 per cent tax hike.
Aerotropolis requires at least $500 million in NEW roads, pipes and other infrastructure. The priorities are wrong here. We should fix what we have before we gamble on an airport-centred field of dreams.
From 1971 to 2006 Hamilton lost nearly a quarter of its farmland – a rate four times faster than the rest of southern Ontario. Virtually all of the aerotropolis lands are zoned agricultural. We need to protect the sources of our local food, especially when climate change is threatening global food security.
Hamilton has over 1500 acres of empty greenfield business parks already – a 30 year supply at current development rates. One of them is the 250 acre Airport Business Park established in 1992 that has never attracted even one new business in its twenty years of existence. The trucking, warehousing and wholesale trade operations that are proposed for the aerotropolis could and should be located on existing industrial lands where roads, sewers, water pipes, transit and other city-funded infrastructure already exists. 
The airport has lost passengers every year since 2004 and last year had less than 200,000 passengers (385,000 total trips). City officials predict that the airport will soon become one of the five largest in Canada and carry 9-10 million passengers a year. This doesn’t seem likely. 
For more information on the aerotropolis, see

The city’s information on the aerotropolis urban boundary expansion is here:

If your neighbourhood association doesn’t want to register as a participant but you’re interested in learning more about what can be done to prevent this billion dollar planning mistake, contact us at

Thanks for considering attending the meeting on Feb 15 and registering your association as a participant. It may be the most important thing you do for your neighbourhood’s future.

Don McLean
Environment Hamilton Board of Directors
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.