Citizens Seek Independent Airport Studies

<strong>Flocks of geese at the Island Airport create danger of bird strikes, even worse if the geese are sucked into jet engines. (Photo: Ron Jenkins)</strong>
Flocks of geese at the Island Airport create danger of bird strikes, even worse if the geese are sucked into jet engines. (Photo: Ron Jenkins)

Numerous neighbourhood associations and community groups, including YQNA, have recently formed the Greater Waterfront Coalition. The Coalition has requested funding for independent experts and consultants to study certain issues arising out of the Porter Airlines proposal to expand the Island Airport to allow jets.

The request for funding and covering letter over the signature of lawyer Ed Hore (also YQNA’s new co-president), both dated December 8, 2014 can be seen here.

Jets require 200 metre extensions of the existing runway at both ends. The governing document, the Tripartite Agreement between the City of Toronto, The Toronto Port Authority and Transport Canada, however, does not permit jets, so Porter Airlines asked that the Agreement be amended. That requires the approval of City Council.

After some rushed studies and a staff report, Council passed a resolution in early April, 2014 requiring among other things that the Toronto Port Authority, owner and operator of the airport, conduct an Environmental Assessment of the effects of expanding the airport to allow jets. The City resolution also called for robust public consultation. Toronto Port Authority is now embarking on just such an Environmental Assessment, and wrestling with how to make it thorough enough to satisfy the City.

The Coalition formed because community groups shared concerns that they cannot provide real public input into the EA without their own independent experts and consultants. The issues are extremely complex. There is a widely-held concern that TPA experts and consultants will not represent or seriously consider the public interest, but rather will act as hired guns whose job is to make expansion of the airport happen.

If the Coalition receives funding to hire arm’s length experts and consultants, their mandate is to examine the complex issues from a public interest perspective. The request focuses on two areas seen as particularly in need of independent analysis: aeronautical safety, and the economic benefits and costs of expansion.

The aeronautic safety issues include: Will the Marine Exclusion Zone expand if the runway is extended? What are the effects of blasting jet engines near boats. What effect will aeronautical safety regulations have on new building development around the Harbour and in the Port Lands, and what would happen in an emergency? The economic questions include: Would jets at the Island Airport really bring travellers into Toronto, over and above those who would come anyway through Pearson? And what would be the economic cost of jets, for example, if they cause a reduction of tourism in the Waterfront, lower real estate values or restrict new Waterfront developments?

Representatives of the Coalition met with Toronto Port Authority on December 15, 2015, and we are waiting to hear if TPA will grant us intervener funding.

Ed Hore
Co-Chair of YQNA

Public Meeting: Jets and the Environment

The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) is scoping an environmental assessment (EA) of Porter Airline’s proposal to introduce jet aircraft and extend the main runway at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport by 400 meters.

A public meeting will provide information on the purpose of the EA; review the areas to be studied and the process of creating an EA; explain how the public can participate throughout the EA process by provide a forum to ask questions.

Meeting Details:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014
6:30 – 9:30pm
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, Room 107
255 Front Street West

After this meeting, the EA will be delivered in two steps — first to determine the scope of it, and secondly to implement it. Consultation with the public and stakeholders will be an important part of both steps.

Swerhun Inc., the independent facilitation team, will document all public feedback on the EA regarding a jet expansion. The TPA and its technical consultants assures that a transparent feedback throughout the process will be made available to the public.

This meeting is not the first step to “the sure road to jets,” but a pivotal forum to hear public concerns about the validity of this EA.

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.