Media Wakes Up to Jet Threat

Despite attempts by Porter Airlines to control media coverage of its proposal to expand the island airport to accommodate jets, some high-profile voices are now raising questions and expressing opposition to Porter’s ill-conceived plans.  YQNA commends those who have spoken out and highlights some of the recent articles.

Christopher Hume, Toronto Star, Sept 25, wrote:

“What Porter and its loudest shill, the federal Toronto Port Authority, don’t want us to know about are the jet fuel storage tanks that would come with an enlarged airport, the enhanced food service operations, the increased traffic, the stream of taxis, the flight path expansion and, of course, the safety and health of students at Waterfront School.” Click for more.

Paul Bedford, Toronto’s former Chief Planner, wrote in the Toronto Star, Sept 17:

“The key issues for city council to consider are: the negative ground-related impacts of an expanded airport on the Bathurst Quay neighbourhood; the threat to ongoing revitalization of the central waterfront; and the inability to control the future expansion of Billy Bishop Airport… Toronto only has one waterfront and its future now rests in the hands of city council. Why would we ever surrender it to a private interest?” Click for more.

Guy Dixon reported in the Globe and Mail, Sept 24:

“The city survey of 1,002 Toronto residents suggests a far more mixed public response compared with previous surveys released by the Toronto Port Authority and Porter Airlines… A telephone survey commissioned by the city concluded that ‘half of Torontonians say that an expanded airport with jets does not fit with the revitalized waterfront, and Toronto residents living in the waterfront area are most likely to say that the airport does not fit.'” Click for more.

Enzo Di Matteo, Now Magazine, Sept 12 and Sept 23 wrote:

“All the noise about noise has become a distraction… The potential health effects from a 30 per cent increase in jet travel on the waterfront and the impact on jet travel on the lake, our drinking water, have received less consideration… What will an expanded airport mean for traffic at the foot of Bathurst, which is a chaotic mess now? It’ll probably suck the life out of the area. But that issue has barely registered outside of those directly affected… One of the biggest misconceptions: that most of the opposition to Porter’s plans is coming from folks opposed to the existence of the airport, period. In fact, not even NoJetsTO, the group spearheading opposition, is against an airport on the waterfront. It’s against expansion.” Click here and here for more.

Glenn Svarich, Toronto Star, Sept 29:

Another reasonable and well-informed writer, Glenn Svarich in Scarborough, wrote “What’s at stake for airport on island” in the Toronto Star. He lays out the consequences of admitting jets and extended runways. Click for more.

 

NOW Reveals Deluce’s Flight Path

Photo: Ottawa Business Journal
Photo: Ottawa Business Journal

NOW Magazine has just broken the omerta around the proposed jet expansion of the Island Airport. No other media have told the real story of the political power plays that have led to Porter Airlines’ dominance over the Waterfront. Read this and wonder. Share the link with your friends, so word can finally get out about this looming urban planning disaster. You might get motivated to attend the City’s public meeting at Exhibition Hall on Sep. 19 (see notice on this page).

Your Final Say on the Jet Ban

Prop planes fly this close to our condos. Imagine jets of double the bulk zooming by your windows. Say NO!
Prop planes fly this close to our condos. Imagine jets of double the bulk zooming by your windows. Say NO!

City Council is gearing up for a crucial vote on the Island Airport. Will they lift the ban on jets and expand the runways far into the lake? Porter and the Toronto Port Authority are spending enormous sums on advertising and lobbying (the TPA using federal tax dollars) to push for a huge jet expansion. If we don’t protest this commercial takeover of our iconic Waterfront, it will change forever.

Please help by:

  • Sending the on-line petition to everyone you know to let our councillors know we cherish the Waterfront.
  • Attending a public consultation with results going to City Council.Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
    Fort York – Blue Barracks Room
    2-3 pm, Drop-in
    3-5 pm, Workshop

    Monday, September 9th, 2013
    Metro Hall – Rooms 308-309
    6-7pm, Drop-in
    7-9pm, Workshop

    THE NEXT MEETING HAS CHANGED TO:
    Thursday, September 19th, 2013
    Direct Energy Convention Centre, Exhibition Place – Salon 205
    6-7pm, Drop-In
    7-9pm, Presentations and Discussions

  • Read the City’s public consultation booklet, though it’s heavily slanted in favour of jets and contains misinformation. It proves how much our voices are needed! We are told that extended runways are “good for the environment”.  And the Jets — still untested and on the production line — are praised for their “average” noise levels.

If the Tripartite ban is lifted, we face a noisy, polluting mini-Pearson on our doorsteps. Come to the meetings and alert friends and neighbours to help save the Waterfront.

Jack Layton Statue Unveiled

Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan, Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford help unveil a bronze sculpture of Jack Layton. (Screen capture from YouTube)
Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan, Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford help unveil a bronze sculpture of Jack Layton. (Screen capture from YouTube)

More than a thousand people met on August 22 at the foot of Bay Street for the naming of the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and the unveiling of a great sculpture of Jack on a tandem bike. It was donated through fundraising by the OFL on behalf of the working people of Ontario and is valued at approximately $350,000. The artist is the well-known David Pellettier of Toronto. It depicts the late Jack Layton, who was an avid cyclist and Toronto MP, riding on the back seat of a tandem bicycle. The front seat welcomes visitors to sit and have their photo taken “with Jack at their back.”

Olivia Chow, our MP for the Waterfront and Jack’s partner through their long private and political life together, said:

“Jack loved the city of Toronto, Toronto Islands, and most of all, the people of Toronto. How fitting that this sculpture will serve as a reminder to the people of Toronto and visitors to the waterfront that Jack always had their back.” She was met with great applause.

Councillor Pam McConnell praised her former colleague and introduced the many speakers and musicians as well as the Layton’s extended family. Emotions ran high, as many in the large crowd remembered this very popular MP and his generous nature. Mayor Rob Ford spoke of his first year as city councillor. He and Jack sat side by side in Council, and although they had different political views, Jack was always kind and ready to help him with advice.

Take a stroll to the ferries and hop on the bike with Jack! This will probably become the most photographed work of art in Toronto.

Waterfront Transit Update July 2013

Courtesy of Waterfront Toronto
Courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

Transit expert and blogger Steve Munro has posted a thorough summary of ongoing transit changes and long-range plans affecting the waterfront.

A few of the highlights:

  • Spadina streetcars are expected to operate again to Queens Quay Loop (the corner of Spadina and Queens Quay) by Christmas. However, construction at Union Station will continue to block access to the Union Station underground loop until February 2014.

  • Development plans for the Lower Yonge Precinct (Yonge to Jarvis) are still unclear, but will likely include tall condo towers on the north side and redevelopment of the LCBO warehouse and store. Redevelopment of the Loblaws site is also possible.

  • A reconfiguration of Harbour Street will include demolition of the York Street off-ramp. (YQNA notes: a park will be maintained at York and Queens Quay.)

  • Development of the East Bayfront between Jarvis and the Parliament Street slip is underway to make it similar to the western section of Queens Quay. But transit plans are incomplete, with LRT a possible future option and some sort of enhanced bus service likely.

Munro’s report includes detailed analysis of transit plans for the entire area. It also has links to detailed reports covering transit activities on the Central Waterfront, Lower Yonge Precinct, East Bayfront, West Don Lands, Cherry Street, Lower Don Lands, Port Lands, Union Station Second Platform, and the Gardiner Expressway Replacement or Reconstruction. Click for the full article.