Ottawa's favorite stomping ground for plane spotters has been shut down

For years, photographers and aircraft enthusiasts have parked off Leitrim Road to watch the action at the airport.

But no more. It's been the thing to do near the airport both day and night; watch the planes roar overhead.

But the property belongs to the airport and they've shut that viewing site down.

You can feel it in your bones, the roar of the engines as the plane blasts overhead.

For many Ottawa residents, it's become a "thing" to do: pack a picnic, lay out a blanket and watch the planes go by.

“We come here as a family,” says Janine Hogg, there with her 4-year-old son Bryce, “It's only our second time but it’s a good spot to come and see the airplanes. The kids love it and we have a good time, too.”

But the good time has come to an end here along Leitrim Road. This is the property of the Ottawa Airport Authority. Several months ago, they installed gates and concrete barriers to stop people from parking here.

The Airport Authority says part of the problem is that people are dumping garbage on the land; the other is potential damage to the navigational markers on the property.

The Ottawa Airport says people were off-roading on the land, leaving furniture, chemicals and lots of trash.

“If that gets ingested into the aircraft engine because it gets blown onto airport property near the runways,”says Krista Kealey, vice-president of Communications and Public Relations with the Ottawa International Airport Authority, “that can be catastrophic so it's important we monitor the activities that are happening on airport land and make sure they are compatible with airport use.”

Alert Road has been a popular site, too, for plane spotters; that is until this runway closed down. Once it's reopened, that site will be bustling again.

For plane spotters like Susan Kennedy, at the airport with her daughter to pick someone up, plane spotting inside the Ottawa Airport just isn't the same as experiencing the roar of the engines outside.

“I grew up in Ottawa,” she says, “so it was something that was tradition and done regularly when you wanted something to do that was inexpensive and fun. When I had children, I brought them in to follow the tradition so it’s sad we are not able to do that anymore.”

People are still parking off Leitrim Road; but with even more limited space, it means getting in and out of the spots is particularly dangerous on a road where cars are flying by almost as fast as the planes overhead.