Friend of the Waterfront Retires

Christopher Hume, who has spoken often about the Waterfront in his Toronto Star columns, is ready to retire. His opinions and sharp pen will be greatly missed. When you live in the midst of North America’s largest urban renewal project, our Waterfront, it is invaluable to have friends who will listen to ideas and concerns of citizens, especially in the media. Christopher Hume has been such a friend to YQNA.

We have learned much from him, and some of his columns have been inspired by information and arguments that YQNA made about buildings, parks, roads, noise and the controversial island airport. He welcomed it, did the necessary research and drew his own conclusions, which resulted in some pithy columns that sometimes were at odds with the Star’s own editorial policy. That is quite a feat for a journalist.

We assume Chris will continue his pursuit of knowledge about what makes cities tick. He has travelled the world and reported on big cities that develop with plans for the next 50 years or more, and transit that is built before buildings shoot up like mushrooms — almost foreign concepts in Toronto! His love of architecture made him grade our newest Toronto buildings like a schoolmaster, and he strongly backed Waterfront Toronto as the lead agency for our area. YQNA got a taste of Chris’ passion for urban life at a talk for our members. This photo shows him at the farewell party for John Campbell, former CEO of Waterfront Toronto. YQNA wishes Chris a great retirement, but we hope he will find new ways to educate us about this city that grows and grows.

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.