Edmonton Sets $80 Million Airport Expropriation Budget

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The central Alberta, Canada, city of Edmonton has set an $80 million budget to expropriate every business and individual with a property or business interest at Edmonton City Centre Airport so it can close the busy (80,000 movements a year) facility within a year. The closure would make way for houses, condos and shopping centers. The city has identified 198 people with interests in the airport land and has its checkbook open to offer them fair market value for whatever that interest might be. The dozens of businesses at the airport range from FBOs to flight schools and aviation-related suppliers. There are also some businesses that are located off the airport lands by a few feet that are not included in the expropriation offer but will have to move if the airport closes. The airport was formerly the city's main airport and has been there since the 1920s, but a new international airport was built on the outskirts 20 years ago and the "Muni" as it's called became the main reliever for GA and business traffic. Its fate has been a political issue ever since and the most recent election installed a city council and mayor intent on getting rid of it. The city's plan hit a major legal roadblock on Tuesday, however.

The Edmonton Flying Club, which was established in 1927 and is the oldest in Canada, doesn't want to move and has filed an $18 million lawsuit against the city. Its current lease doesn't expire until 2028. On Tuesday, a judge allowed the club to seek a temporary injunction against closing the facilities it uses in the enjoyment of that lease (maintenance, navaids, the tower etc.) as it pursues the lawsuit. If the injunction is granted, the airport closure could be delayed for years as the lawsuit drags through the courts. Meanwhile, the club has offered to drop the suit if it's granted a permanent injunction against the city's closure plan.