Ottawa, Canada K1A 0N5
I am pleased to release the report of the Independent Advisor on the economic development of the Pickering Lands, Dr. Gary Polonsky. I would like to thank Dr. Polonsky for carrying out his mandate as Independent Advisor with diligence and professionalism and providing an insightful and comprehensive report of his findings.
I also want to thank the many stakeholders who have taken the time to share their views with Dr. Polonsky and made valuable contributions to the ongoing consultation process on the future of the Pickering Lands.
Transport Canada has adopted a balanced approach to the management of the Pickering Lands, to ensure that environmental and economic needs are met. To this end, approximately 10,000 acres of the Pickering Lands are being transferred to the Rouge National Urban Park and will be preserved in perpetuity. The remainder of the lands continues to be protected for future economic development.
I encourage you to read the Independent Advisor’s report and look forward to engaging with stakeholders on the Pickering Lands in the future. The report summarizes the views expressed by a broad range of stakeholders in the course of recent engagement in the region. It concludes with 4 recommendations regarding the management of the Pickering Lands.
Recommendation #1: Undertake the analysis required to make a decision on the need for an airport.
I agree that any decision on the future development of the Pickering Lands must be supported by a strong business case and updated data on aviation demand and capacity in the region. Transport Canada has recently initiated the Pickering Lands Aviation Sector Analysis. The work is expected to be completed in 2018 and will provide information that is instrumental to future decisions regarding the Pickering Lands.
Recommendation #2: Continue engaging with stakeholders in the community throughout the process of making a decision.
Engagement with community, business and government stakeholders has been a key component of the management of the Pickering Lands to date. Transport Canada is committed to an open and transparent dialogue regarding the future development of the Pickering Lands site. Since 2013, Transport Canada has consulted local stakeholders through a variety of mechanisms to seek views on how the Pickering Lands should be managed.
Recommendation #3: Avoid interim development that could jeopardize aviation options.
Land management decisions involving the Pickering Lands require careful assessment of economic and environmental considerations. The results of the Pickering Lands Aviation Sector Analysis will provide an updated timeframe for potential development of the Pickering Lands. This will enable Transport Canada to determine whether there is a rationale for interim development.
Recommendation #4: Establish a Pickering Lands Advisory Network.
Once the results of the Aviation Sector Analysis are known, Transport Canada will be in a better position to consider the establishment of a Pickering Lands Advisory Network.
The Government of Canada remains committed to engaging with community, business and government stakeholders in an open and transparent manner on the future of the Pickering Lands.
The Honourable Marc Garneau, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Transport