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Decision to close international use at local airport grounded thanks to area MPs

The Lake Simcoe Regional Airport will be able to continue providing a place to land for some international deliveries

Lake Simcoe Regional Airport won’t be shutting down its international capabilities, much to the delight of local MPs.

On May 12, the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ministry announced the closure of regional airports to keep needed Canadian Border Services focused on larger facilities during the COVID-19 crisis. 

A joint statement from Members of Parliament Doug Shipley (Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte), John Brassard (Barrie-Innisfil), Bruce Stanton (Simcoe North), Terry Dowdall (Simcoe-Grey), and Scot Davidson (York-Simcoe) blasted the decision, which led to the reversal on Friday.

Shipley credited Simcoe County Warden George Cornell for taking the initiative to reach out to the federal politicians regarding the issue.

Shipley, whose riding includes the airport in Oro-Medonte Township, reiterated how important the facility is, even if some people don’t often access its services for personal use.

“It is very essential to the region and that is something I came to learn while on (Barrie city) council for nine years,” Shipley told BarrieToday. “There are a lot of people who don’t realize the gem that we have out on Line 7.

"I can assure you, it is as wonderful a property as it is needed in the area," he added. 

Getting much needed PPE supplies was just one of many reasons the full capability of the airport was pushed to be opened.

Ontario Hydro and Honda Canada are just two of several major companies that would require international personnel.

“Base Borden uses the airport as well; we can’t shut down access for the base,” said Shipley.

During the current health crisis, private and recreational use will not be permitted.