Former Transport Minister Hellyer: Powerful Statement Against Jets

Island Airport Expansion Will Burden Taxpayers and Create More Traffic Chaos, Hellyer Urges in Letter to City Council YouTube_Photo_Paul_Hellyer_2013-11-09TORONTO - As Canada’s senior Privy Councillor, former Minister of Transport for Canada and a long time resident of Toronto, I feel a responsibility to write to each of you to express my strongly held views on this critically important issue of whether or not to allow jets at Billy Bishop airport. I will not burden you with a review of issues such as the breach of trust in changing the ground rules, the extra noise of jets during takeoff and landing, the smell of jet fuel or other health and environmental considerations, which are all significant.  I will limit my appeal to two other issues that I think are even more compelling. The first is who is going to pay the cost of providing the infrastructure?  And what will happen if, after a huge increase in the value of the franchise as a result of the introduction of the jets, Robert Deluce should entertain an offer to sell his controlling interest in Porter?  Will he be required to provide a bond that would save taxpayers harmless from any financial consequences that might result from a change in ownership, and a possible decision to consolidate operations at Pearson International? The second issue is the clincher.  There is simply not enough room to accommodate additional carriers and the increased traffic that would inevitably result from the introduction of jets and continent-wide schedules.  The status quo provides a vibrant and dynamic service which is appreciated by most citizens.  The projected growth is already considerable, and will stretch the capability of keeping up with infrastructure and complementary services.  To cope with the growth rate projected as a result of additional carriers and additional routes would create chaos both onsite and with vehicular traffic nearby.  There is simply not enough room physically to meet the needs of that scenario! The best way to avoid future crises is to foresee them, and prevent them from happening.  It is for this reason that I strongly urge you to reject an untenable expansion. Yours respectfully, Paul T. Hellyer