I have read with interest various news reports covering the proposal by Jim Barnes to expand the Mount Snow Airport. Each report stated or implied that an expanded airport would have a benefit to all. I couldn’t disagree more. The most valuable asset in all of Wilmington is the bucolic, peaceful setting of this small town.
An active airport in the middle of town with its attendant noise, air pollution, and lighting would upset the very essence of what we love about Wilmington. The notion that people who could, would fly in and fly out for day trips is exactly the sort of use of the airport that would leave those who value the beauty of Wilmington ruing the day that the decision was made to provide private enterprise with the means to change the town in a way that undermined its very nature.
Make no mistake, I am for the rehabilitation of Wilmington and for redevelopment of the Haystack ski resort. I am simply against a proposal that goes too far. How many flights a day would it take to ruin the days of so many residents and second-home owners? What about evening flights? Night flights? With no limitations and no way to enforce the number of flights and times of day when planes could fly, are we not handing over the keys to the quality of life of residents and second home owners for the primary benefit of a minority of people? At what expense to all the rest of us? The very idea that this airport could bring meaningful commerce to Wilmington underscores that the cost of that commerce would be the destruction of the DNA of the town. Rebuild the town. Build it better. But I urge our town government to pledge not to give away the future to accommodate several people or families who may want to ski Haystack Mountain.