National Post: Citizen Group Aims to Halt Rob Ford’s Request for a Study into Porter’s Expansion Bid

National Post Covers NoJetsTO Argumentation Against Costly and Unnecessary City Study of Island Airport Expansion Plans May 13, 2013 TORONTO - Days ahead of a city council vote on studying Porter Airline’s bid to fly jets in and out of the island airport, a new citizen group has emerged hoping to halt expansion plans before take off. But ask one of the leading critics of the Porter proposal if there are enough votes to scrap Mayor Rob Ford’s request for a report, and the response makes it sound far from a sure thing. “Maybe,” says Councillor Adam Vaughan. “We will have to wait and see.” Porter CEO Robert Deluce has asked the city, the federal government and the Toronto Port Authority to amend an agreement that bans jets and to allow a 168 metre extension of the main runway on either end. Porter is seeking permission to operate the new Bombardier CS100 planes, which it calls “whisper jets,” and the company wants an answer from the city by July. The request has won early support from Mayor Rob Ford but several councillors have voiced opposition. On Friday, the nascent No Jets T.O. launched a website and had an inaugural press conference in Nathan Phillips Square. “This is not a fight against Porter. This is not a fight against the island airport,” said Anshul Kapoor a 33-year-old marketing specialist and waterfront resident. “This is a fight against Robert Deluce’s ambition to bring jets to the island airport and change our city forever.” He was joined by Beverly Dywan, who lives around St. Clair Avenue and who has a child at the Waterfront School. They said they represent a coalition of citizens and local groups, and have the support of the York Quay Neighbourhood Association, Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association, Toronto Island Community Association and CommunityAIR. “People are concerned,” said Ms. Dywan, a consultant for museums and other cultural institutions who along with Mr. Kapoor has flown Porter. They are asking councillors to block the study, arguing it would be a waste of money and impossible to complete by July, given that a traffic study took a year. The mayor’s executive has demanded that Porter foot the bill for a comprehensive look at various issues, which city staff estimated would cost at least $200,000. A spokesman for Porter said Friday the company is open to paying “reasonable costs” of a review that is completed in a “timely manner.” Brad Cicero, manager of communications and public affairs, declined to speculate on Porter’s chances of passing the first hurdle next week. “Anybody who is actually looking to get all the information and understand the proposal fully should be in favour of simply approving a staff report,” he said. Source: National Post article