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.

Enter Local Transit Study and Contest

University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute (UTTRI) is launching a smartphone-based travel survey in partnership with Waterfront Toronto. Install the app and you could win $1,600 prizes while improving transportation in the region!

Toronto.Datamobile (iOS) and UofT-Waterfront Travel Survey (Android) allow users to feed travel data directly to civil engineers and geographers to improve the sustainability and functionality of transportation networks in Toronto.

Toronto.Datamobile (iOS) and UofT-Waterfront Travel Survey (Android).
Toronto.Datamobile (iOS) and UofT-Waterfront Travel Survey (Android).

The app was developed on behalf of Waterfront Toronto and is used to monitor travel and transportation-related energy use and emissions.

GTHA users who install the app and provide their email address are entered into a four-week contest with three $100 draws every week, starting on November 28, 2014. An additional $100 is also up for grabs every week for users who submit data through the project’s web validation tool – a link to this will be sent to active app users after installation.

The apps can be downloaded at the following link:

http://goo.gl/forms/QcSEi5GkAq

For further information, please contact:

Chris Harding & Yunfei Zhang
Phone: 647.963.6950 / 647.202.1106
Email: UofT.WT.Travel.Survey@gmail.com
Website: http://uttri.utoronto.ca/research/projects/waterfront-toronto-survey/

Joe Cressy: Our New Man in Council

Joe Cressy, our new Councillor for the Central Waterfront (Ward 20 – Trinity Spadina), will stand out as young and progressive in a City Council of mostly older colleagues. He has big shoes to fill, taking over the seat of the incisive Adam Vaughan, who is now our MP. Joe won by a wide margin and was endorsed by many prominent Torontonians, including Councillor Pam McConnell in Ward 28. We expect Pam and Joe will work well together on Waterfront issues.

Joe says: “Everywhere you look, politicians seem to be lowering the bar, promising tax cuts and belt-tightening instead of building our city up.” He is ready to invest in affordable housing, public transit, childcare, clean air to breathe and water to drink. “The economic case for investment is clear: the longer you delay infrastructure repairs, and transit modernization and expansion, the more difficult and expensive it becomes to catch up in the future,” he says.

Cressy, who sits in Council as an independent, finds taxing, spending, and regulating are the core functions of government, no matter who holds office. “The difference lies in how you prioritize spending,” he says.

The Waterfront is close to Joe’s heart. He describes our neighbourhood as home to thousands of residents, millions of annual visitors, beautiful blue flag beaches and unique recreational facilities that draw Torontonians from the entire GTA.

A jet airport does not belong on the Waterfront, according to Joe.  “Waterfront revitalization is a priority for our city and is not compatible with jets or expansion of the Island Airport.”

YQNA welcomes Joe Cressy and looks forward to working with him.

WATERFRONT DEBATE CANCELLED!

John Tory and Olivia Chow.
John Tory and Olivia Chow.

John Tory Leaves Waterfront in the Lurch

John Tory cancelled his participation in the important Waterfront Mayoral Debate the day before the event, planned for Tuesday, September 16 in Harbourfront Community Centre. Tory’s last-minute decision was considered very disrespectful by the many Waterfront volunteers who invested time and money in the debate. Rogers TV10, City News online and other media also invested much time preparing for the debate.

This one-on-one debate between Tory and Olivia Chow was much anticipated because of the Waterfront’s controversial issues — the proposed jet expansion of the island airport, and the urban renewal led by Waterfront Toronto. By leaving organizers in the lurch without an explanation, it is assumed that Tory is unwilling to face these issues.

York Quay Neighbourhood Association, Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association (representing 10,000 residents) and the Waterfront Business Improvement Area had planned this debate for three months. They paid for renting the hall, which holds 500 people, as well as a sound system and promotion.

Tory’s abrupt cancellation is bound to raise questions about his commitment to the Waterfront and will likely cost him votes.