Two Richmond city councillors say Vancouver International Airport's draft expansion plans for the next 20 years spell disaster for residents of the city.
The YVR airport authority has unveiled plans to extend two existing runways, build two new ones and turn the Arthur Laing Bridge into an airport-only crossing.
One of the new runways would be built along the south arm of the Fraser River and the other would be builtout into the ocean at the westernend of the airport—addingcapacity forabout 370,000 additional takeoffs and landings at the airport every year.
The airport currently handles about 275,000 aircraft movements a year and forecasts that will increase to 484,000 takeoffs and landings by 2027.
Councillors worried, call for public involvement
Coun. Bill McNultysays he recognizes the airport is an important economic generator. But he calls the airport's expansion plans "extremely aggressive" and says they would mean "almost unbelievable" traffic volumes.
Coun. Derek Dang says the expansion wouldn't stop there, noting the airport authority also wants to take over roads andbridges in Richmond.
He says that includes a proposal that the Arthur Laing Bridge be set aside for airport traffic only, which "raised some eyebrows around the table" at Richmond City Hall.
The two councillors say the only wayRichmond residents can protect their quality of life is to get more involved in putting some brakes on airport growth.
The airport currently has three runways in operation; it operated with two until 1996.