Air tankers didn’t use airport |

Air tankers didn’t use airport


In recent issues of the Tribune a guest column by Keith R. Swanson (who just happens to be the chairman of the Lake Tahoe Airport Commission) and a letter to the editor by Bill Kolstad Jr. appeared , each extolling the value of the airport when forest fires occur. The rhetoric was great, but wait a minute — I have a different view.

1. The air tankers did not use the airport, so it was not needed for them.

2. A heliport would be a lot cheaper to maintain and operate, would not have to be located in a stream environment zone and could be invisible to the visitor.

3. The claim that general aviation was unhindered because the tower was funded and operable is probably true, but to claim that it was an economic benefit to the community at large is a huge stretch of the imagination.

You have to remember that every take off or landing is counted as one, so if 20 aircraft are claimed that means that we had 10 visitors! If that is worth $750,000 per year for the past 10 years I’ll eat my hat!

When you add to that the noise nuisance created by private and the occasional high roller private jet whose exhaust reverberates around the basin then I argue again that we should “dump the airport.”

Consider the downside of this monstrosity: It is the first ugly scar you see on the landscape as you enter the basin from Echo SUmmit. The 8,5000-foot runway sites entirely within a stream environment zone (SEZs are a prime target for restoration and water quality protection by TRPA). If it were a private enterprise venture it would not last six months, as the revenue gained is less than the overhead incurred by an astronomical figure.

Come on you people on the City Council — wake up and smell the roses. The airport is a loser. Dump it!

Jim Hildinger

South Lake Tahoe

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