Author Braz Menezes Endorses NoJetsTO

Toronto Writer, Architect and Urban Planner Speaks Out Against Waterfront Jet Plans in Statement Braz Menezes TORONTO - I endorse the mission of NoJetsTO, and agree with its goal to preserve the current state of the Island Airport by protecting the Tripartite Agreement that governs it. I was trained as both an Architect and Urban Planner. My 50 years of professional practice have taken me to many countries around the world, including Kenya, Mexico, India and Brazil, among others. Because of my early work on environmental sustainability, I was selected by an UN international panel in 1975, to form a joint-venture with the late Sir James Stirling (UK) and Arch. Giancarlo de Carlo (Italy) to plan the permanent headquarters of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), then under the leadership of Canadian Maurice Strong, in Nairobi, Kenya. Since the 80’s I have been with the World Bank in Washington in the urban sector, and have advised and supervised the implementation of major planning and infrastructure programs, as well as metropolitan and municipal management, emergency reconstruction as well as disaster mitigation and prevention. Nowhere in the world have I encountered a situation where such a precious public natural resource, as our Waterfront, would be casually turned over for exploitation by the private sector for personal and private gain, unless of course it involved serious corruption by some involved politicians, in which case there would usually be a huge public outcry, and the project would be dropped, or it would not receive funding. Since 2005 when I returned to Canada, I have been intimately involved on various initiatives with the York Quay Neighbourhood Association (YQNA), working with the City, and participating on numerous stakeholder groups, in a close and productive relationship with Waterfront Toronto. Our waterfront is a priceless resource and must be protected at all costs, for use by the millions of visitors. The social, economic, and financial benefits that will accrue to the City in future, far exceed the modest projections (already quite impressive) that have been published so far. The City staff reports have rightly raised a number of critical issues that have to be studied in greater detail, to fix the problems created directly by the existing operations of Billy Bishop Airport, specifically related to public health and safety, traffic and transportation, and the crowding-out of other users of the Waterfront. The Board of Health has been more explicit in its views. A number of prominent people have already spoken, on this subject. Waterfront Toronto has made its views known. On the other hand, the incredible ‘spin’ and misinformation by Porter Airlines, the Port Authority, and their paid marketing consultants, do not even hint at the serious problems, should some of our visionless politicians, manage to manoeuvre a decision in favour of jets at the waterfront. My regular depositions and letters to City Councillors on this topic, further demonstrate my opposition to an expansion of Billy Bishop through jet aircraft and extended runways, and instead, to maintain the current size of the Island Airport by protecting the Tripartite Agreement that governs it, and to fix attendant problems. Thank you NoJetsTO for leading this initiative. Best regards,   Braz Menezes (Architect, Urban Planner and internationally published Author)