In the early 1970s, the Government of Canada expropriated 7,530 hectares of farm land in Markham, Picking and Uxbridge for the creation of an airport that has not yet been planned or built. The decision has resulted in decades of controversy over what should go on these lands.
Since 1975 some of the the land has been leased to residential, farm and commercial tenants. In 2015 part of the land was added to the Rouge National Urban Park.
Many residents oppose the development of the Pickering airport, according to Mary Delaney, the chair of Land over Landings, a citizens group against the airport. They want the future of this area to be secured for agriculture permanently.
One group called Abundance GTA envisions the area becoming a food hub for millions of people in the region, writes Shawn Micallef in this Toronto Star article.
The City of Pickering was originally against the development of the airport in Pickering. The City of Pickering, however, has recently expressed interest in developing the airport. In November, 2016 they asked the federal government to “expedite planning and development.”
While the City of Pickering has not endorsed the development of the airport in the past, Durham Region has. Some believe that the airport will encourage economic growth in the region. Studies are being conducted by the federal government on an aviation-sector study that will help to determine the necessity and feasibility of an airport in the region.