North Bay’s airport received more than $10 million worth of upgrades in anticipation of playing host to G8 leaders, but their big jets are bypassing the newly paved runway and are flying direct to Toronto, the Toronto Star has learned.
North Bay was originally considered as the landing site for leaders arriving from around the globe for the summit, but the latest plan is to have them arrive at Pearson International Airport instead and then travel to Muskoka, likely by helicopter.
The cancellation is a blow to North Bay, where hopes were running high the community would be playing host to U.S. President Barack Obama and Air Force One.
Over in Industry Minister Tony Clement’s riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka, the Opposition Liberals say many of the G8 projects the federal government has spent millions on are nowhere near ready, even though the G8 summit is just nine days away. The party visited some of the building projects in the riding paid for by a $50-million fund.
Liberal MPs Mark Holland and Marcel Proulx calculate Clement’s riding has received a total of about $100 million in stimulus and summit money since Ottawa ramped up spending to fight the recession.