MPP Marchese to City Council: Say 'No' to Island Airport Expansion

Letter to City Council Outlines Concerns About Revitalization of Waterfront, Ontario Place Rosario MarcheseTORONTO - As one of the three signatories to the tripartite agreement governing the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Toronto City Council must decide whether to allow jets and the extension of the airport runway. The Province of Ontario is not a signatory to that agreement, and has no formal authority here. But as MPP for Trinity-Spadina, in which the airport is located, I would like to make you aware of some provincial interests that are threatened by this proposal, whose full impact cannot be predicted with the inadequate information yet available. The Province and the City are both partners in Waterfront Toronto, which has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and has attracted development investments worth billions. As you know, Waterfront Toronto has expressed deep concerns, which I share, about the potential negative impact of airport expansion. I also hope that Ontario Place will become again a vibrant and welcoming public space for all Torontonians, and plans are already underway for a new urban park and trail. The park will be located less than 300 metres away from the airport, and is threatened by the proposed airport expansion. I also understand that the Toronto Port Authority has requested $100 million in federal and provincial infrastructure funding to accommodate landside airport operations. The province would be responsible for half this amount. Minister of Infrastructure Glen Murray has been largely silent on airport expansion and whether he intends to support the Port Authority’s request. But as the local MPP, I would be unable to support such a request without the support of my constituents. I strongly doubt they would agree that these scarce funds should be spent to support airport operations largely on behalf of one private interest, rather than other local priorities such as transit. This is the City’s decision to make. But I hope it decides to reject this proposal. Sincerely, Rosario Marchese Rosario Marchese MPP, Trinity-Spadina