Paddle Canada Speaks Out Against Jets

National Association for 2,000 Paddling Instructors Cites Safety Concerns in Letter to TPA

TORONTO - Paddlers have used the Toronto Harbour for hundreds of years - but this is will change if jets are allowed at the Island Airport. Paddle Canada, the country's certification body for instructors for all paddling disciplines, is speaking out against the Island Airport expansion in a powerful letter to the Port Authority - original PDF version here. Quote on jet blasts, the Paddle Canada letter says: "[…] such conditions are life-threatening and completely unacceptable from the point of view of paddlers." "We strongly urge you to reconsider the proposal to extend the runway in light of the risk it poses to nearby paddlers, and the disruption and disturbance it will cause on the waters of Toronto harbour. Toronto already has a more suitable place for jets: Pearson International Airport." But will the TPA listen? _____________________________________________ Dear Mr. Wilson: Paddle Canada represents the interests of canoeists and kayakers across Canada. Paddle Canada currently represents over 1,800 Instructor and Individual Members, 8 Regional Member Associations and 2 Affiliate Member Associations. We communicate with paddlers regularly all over North America via 15,000 subscribed to our enewsletter and 70,000 in print via Rapid Media magazine subscribers. Through each of our members and programs we are able to successfully and consistently deliver the message of safe and enjoyable paddling to more than 10,000 paddlers annually. We also maintain regular contact with our recreational boating industry partners, at twice a year meetings via our seat on Transport Canada’s National Recreational Boating Advisory Council. We write to you to express concerns that jet blast from the proposed extension of the runway at BBTCA will pose a danger to paddlers. One of our largest and most active Paddle Canada member organizations is the Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre (HCYC), located at the foot of Rees Street on the Toronto Waterfront. HCKC provides courses and instruction enabling paddlers to obtain Paddle Canada certifications, run summer camps, conducts voyageur canoe tours for tourists from all over the world, and generally serves as a base for paddling activities in the Toronto harbour. Paddlers have used Toronto harbour for hundreds of years. The harbour is today a favourite spot for thousands of canoeists, kayakers, stand up paddleboarders, (not to mention sailboats, powerboats etc) because of its tranquility, the views of the city skyline, and the proximity of the beautiful parkland and waterways of Toronto Island. The most frequented paddling route in the harbour stretches from HCKC south by the white buoys of the BBTCCA Marine Exclusion Zone (MEZ) to the parkland and waterways of the Island. This may be the most frequently paddled stretch of water in Canada. Paddle Canada has serious concerns that the current proposal to expand the runway at BBTCA to accommodate jets appears to pose a grave risk to nearby paddlers taking this route. A conceptual drawing of the proposed runway extension shown to the public at Toronto Port Authority's public meeting in Toronto on December 9, 2014 (page 26, copy attached) shows that the Take-off Starting Point, the spot where the engines blast to get the plane moving down the runway for take-off, would be located only 132 metres from the white buoys of the MEZ. Paddlers heading to the Island pass immediately beside those buoys. This means that paddlers, including small children in the nearby paddling camp, will be exposed to a lethal blast of exhaust-filled air, with air velocity that may be in the vicinity at 60 - 90 km/hr outside the MEZ according to the City's aeronautical consultant AIRBIZ. The noise will be deafening, and such conditions are life-threatening and completely unacceptable from the point of view of paddlers. No means for remediating this danger is shown on the attached diagram or anywhere in the presentation, and we have grave doubts that a wall or deflection device can be effective in blocking such a powerful blast at such a short distance from vulnerable canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards. HCYC would likely be unable to continue to offer programs in the harbour; noise and safety concerns would force it to close or relocate. Paddle Canada has also learned that there is an ongoing 20 year multi billion dollar plan to revitalize the city's waterfront. Jets landing in the downtown waterfront area are not compatible with this plan and may jeopardize the redevelopment of the newest waterfront park (Ontario Place), announced by the Ontario Government last fall. We strongly urge you to reconsider the proposal to extend the runway in light of the risk it poses to nearby paddlers, and the disruption and disturbance it will cause on the waters of Toronto harbour. Toronto already has a more suitable place for jets: Pearson International Airport. Yours truly, Graham Ketcheson Executive Director Paddle Canada | Pagaie Canada