Hamilton airport is one of the city's most important assets -- supposedly rivalling the harbour for its potential impact on the local economy, providing a convenient transport hub for citizens, and giving individuals and businesses one more reason to locate here.
And yet, city council and staff appear to be asleep at the switch on airport growth and development. The city has not once in 10 years exercised its contractual responsibility to conduct annual performance reviews of TradePort International, the company with which it signed a 40-year deal in 1996 to operate John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.
Flying Blind, a four-part series this week by Spectator reporters Joan Walters, Steve Buist and Naomi Powell, detailed the cloaks of secrecy that surround the city's arrangements with TradePort.
It showed an almost complete lack of city oversight of the airport -- including gathering information to which the city was not only clearly entitled, but which it had a fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers to monitor.
Flying Blind also examined lack of promised development on lands around the airport.
It showed that the two parties don't even agree on the nature of their relationship: TradePort sees it as a partnership, with all that implies, and the city sees it as a lease to the private sector with targets to meet. (source)