High-Profile Realtor Janine Sheeres Speaks Out Against Jet Plans: Read Her Statement November 26, 2013 TORONTO - I am against the expansion of the Porter Island Airport to include jets. It’s plain and simple common sense to me: increased air traffic and larger planes mean more noise, more air pollution and increased downtown gridlock. The result: dropping real estate prices - primarily due to the noise from large planes. Brad Lamb wasn’t bothered by small planes, let's see whether he would get the same sleep with bigger jets. Let him battle increased traffic enroute to his showings. If I was going to buy down by the lake, and be enticed by the wonderful view, the prospect of the increased Island Airport traffic would be a significant deciding factor against my buying there. Janine Sheeres, Broker _______________________ Note: Janine Sheeres has been successful as a realtor in Toronto for 27 years. In 2012, she ranked in the top 0.5% in sales, and top 5% in units sold (for the Toronto Real Estate Board) ((Janine Sheeres' website: post "About Janine", accessed 2013-11-24)).
Hurting Sailing in the Harbour, Plus Noise from Jets Prompt Concerns in Blog Post November 22, 2013 TORONTO - We’ve been here in Toronto’s Inner Harbour for a few years now. Thirty-three at Queen’s Quay and Rees to be precise. In recent years, the sound of the airport has become increasingly loud and distracting. We don’t mean to be melodramatic, but the whirr and groan of the airliners often shatters the air, making being outside unpleasant. It’s difficult to heartily recommend the harbour’s attractions to guests and tourists given this noise. We have flown through the airport, and found it pretty convenient, but expect the new Pearson airport train will make this convenience far less significant. We understand that there are plans to bring more, louder, bigger planes to the island airport, and choking off the Western Gap shipping channel to accommodate their greater runway requirements. We are of the opinion that reducing a vital water passage and increasing the ambient noise is a poor plan for the harbour, and very much hope it does not come to pass. _______________ Source: Nautical Mind blog post, 2013-11-21
Thought-Provoking Author Speaks Out Against Jets: Read Her Statement November 21, 2013 TORONTO - Flying jets in and out of Toronto’s Island Airport is like putting the Gardiner Expressway in the sky. Yeow! This is not an environmentally-friendly, or aesthetically pleasing vision for Toronto's waterfront. It will significantly increase traffic, from 2.4 million to 4.3 million passengers in the next seven years. Let's reclaim Toronto's waterfront and make it livable for all the people who live, work and play downtown. Franke James Artist/Author, Banned on the Hill www.frankejames.com
Leading Social Justice Organization Speaks with Statement Against Jets on Our Waterfront November 20, 2013 TORONTO - Social Planning Toronto supports NoJetsTO’s campaign to stop jets on the waterfront. As one of the city’s leading organizations working for social justice, Social Planning Toronto is concerned about the social and economic impact of introducing jets to Toronto’s waterfront. The planned expansion of the Island Airport will damage the diverse nature of Toronto’s mixed-use waterfront, tipping the balance away from the current healthy mix of recreational, residential, educational, and other land use. Pollution and noise will affect the 17 million waterfront visitors every year, many of whom are low- and medium-income families from across Toronto. Increased traffic congestion is another concern, as is jet exhaust and increased noise exposure – increased risks for public health in the waterfront community and beyond. The proposal to permit jets to use the Toronto Island airport are incompatible with Social Planning Toronto’s goal of and enhancing the quality of life for all people in the city. Social Planning Toronto calls on all City Councillors to protect the current Tripartite Agreement with its ban on jet aircraft and runway extensions. John Campey Executive Director, Social Planning Toronto
More Prominent Torontonians Speak Out Against the Jets November 18, 2013 TORONTO - With a City Council vote on the dangerous jet plans for Toronto's waterfront only four weeks away, more high-profile individuals are speaking out. Here is a sample of recent endorsements for NoJetsTO: "Allowing jets to fly low along the Toronto waterfront is like having a Formula One race on Yonge Street. Tolerating jet technology on the Island Airport will destroy the hard-won fine tapestry of diverse human uses and natural restoration efforts that have taken hold on Toronto’s lakeshore. Anyone interested in a sustainable Toronto will need to make sure that those jets don’t fly!" - Roger Keil, Urban Thinker and Professor at York University “Toronto's waterfront has been undergoing a transformation from an industrial port into a gathering spot for culture, leisure, and livability. All of these recent gains are threatened by the continuing expansionist plans of Porter Airlines. While the waterfront should be home to bustling business community, there is no reason that a polluting, noisy airport should be a part of it. If Toronto is serious about its stated quest to make our waterfront a magnet for both residents and tourists, the easiest step is to halt Porter's plans.” - Matthew Blackett, Publisher, Spacing Magazine “Earlier this year Torontonians succeeded in stopping a Mega Casino on Toronto's waterfront. Now our waterfront faces a new threat with Porter Airline's expansion proposal which will impact not only our beaches and recreational waterfront activities, but also the thousands of people living nearby. Thank you NoJetsTO for taking on another David and Goliath battle to save our waterfront.” - Maureen Lynett, Co-founder, No Casino Toronto ______ For a complete list of endorsements, click here.
MP and Green Party Leader Endorses NoJetsTO in Open Letter November 10, 2013 OTTAWA - The Toronto Island is the treasure of Toronto and should be treated as such. I am alarmed, though not altogether surprised that the Toronto Port Authority is even considering selling out Toronto’s Harbourfront for private profit. While the profits of this proposed plan will be private, the costs will be public. The costs will include not just the $1.4 billion in taxpayer funds that are invested in revitalizing the Harbourfront – a plan that will surely be jeopardized if large passenger jets start taking off and landing on the proposed expanded runways.
These jets will also tax the eyes and ears of those who live near the airport and people and families who come to the island for recreation. No matter how quiet the so-called “whisper jets” will be, there is no avoiding the fact that planes flying overhead will fundamentally change the neighbourhoods and the beaches nearby. I fear, once the expansion begins, there will be no reeling it in. No longer will the island be a place to escape the hustle and bustle of Toronto’s amazingly thriving streets but it will itself be the source of noise and unrelenting activity. This isn’t to say that the Billy Bishop Airport has been detrimental to Toronto. Rather, I think this airport has done a lot to facilitate business and recreation within Canada. That we should be proud of this result does not mean we should risk losing sight of what is actually important: a Toronto that benefits all Torontonians. Elizabeth E. May, O.C. Member of Parliament Saanich-Gulf Islands
__________________ Link to original letter as PDF
Read Paul Hellyer's Presentation to Mayor Ford and Executive Committee September 24, 2013 TORONTO - My name is Paul Hellyer and I was, at one time, Minister of Transport of Canada. Also, in 1971 I taught Urban Planning at the Graduate School of York University.
Let me state my biases up front. I have lived on the waterfront for 33 years and I am a Bombardier shareholder.
In my opinion there are a number of valid reasons why it would be unwise to permit jet aircraft to fly in and out of Billy Bishop Airport.
The first is that there is no real need for it. Toronto is already well served with transcontinental air service and the long list of environmental, safety, and logistic concerns involved is too high a cost to pay, for something that is not really needed.
To begin, there simply is not enough vacant land on or near the site to accommodate the extra parking, terminal and hangar facilities required. If you look at the graph of increased use of the airport for the last five years, you will see that the growth is virtually exponential. That will undoubtedly continue without the addition of jet aircraft. So there will be lots of work for the taxi drivers and a continuing headache for the people responsible for expanding the facilities in parallel with the increased traffic.
If jets are allowed, that headache would turn out to be one horrendous nightmare, as Air Canada, Westjet, and at least one American carrier would feel obliged to launch major operations from Billy Bishop in order to compete. The result would be constant tension between the operators, officials responsible for accommodating their requests, and stakeholders. This is an impossible scenario! It would be comparable to Cinderella’s ugly sister trying to cram a size nine foot into a size six shoe.
One can only hope and pray that even the inevitable expansion without jets will not result in tearing down the nearby community center and school, and bulldozing the park.
Then there are the many safety concerns and the one that worries me most is birds being ingested into the jet engines. The number of cormorants that fly through the bay when the smelt are running can be counted in the thousands. While eating at the kitchen table we see them fly by in waves of several hundred, followed by another wave, and then another, until we give up trying to keep track. In addition the numerous flocks of geese and other birds cannot easily be dismissed. Transport Canada insists that jets be able to fly with one engine. Good. But what if both engines ingested a cormorant or goose more or less simultaneously and both lost power resulting in a crash landing in the bay, which is normally dotted with sailing boats, ferries and pleasure boats, all at the same time. That could happen, and it could be disastrous.
We were assured that there would have to be a plan to control the birds. But I have never heard of one that would be effective in this marine environment.
Proponents of allowing jets don’t seem to appreciate that the Bay and Islands are a unique Toronto treasure that can’t be duplicated elsewhere. From our condo window we watch the dozens of kayakers, scullers and sailors enjoying the bay, as well as jam-packed ferries carrying thousands of working-class Torontonians to the islands for a day of rest and relaxation in close touch with nature. Can you imagine how much the pollution and smell of jet fuel might affect the air they breathe?
My wife and I usually take visitors for a sight-seeing boat tour of the islands and bay – the most recent time being just a few weeks ago. I noted the detour we made to avoid the ‘no use’ zone at the end of the airport runway. It is already in the nuisance category, but tolerable. To extend it further would be a considerable degradation. I realize that the present runway must be extended to meet the new safety rules about to be imposed. But it would be good if it could all occur on the lake side, assuming that wouldn’t unduly affect marine traffic through the western gap.
In my opinion the decision has to be based on the balance of benefit. Porter Airlines is a good carrier with a nice niche market that most of us use and appreciate. But the price of adding a few distant destinations is too high and the environmental and safety risks are too great. Consequently, if I were chief planner for Toronto I would make a strong recommendation to Council to reject the application. If I were still Minister of Transport, I would simply not approve the use of jets, and avoid the horrendous problems before the fact, rather than be faced with an impossible situation later.
Read the Harbourfront Community Association Open Letter on the Jet Issue October 27, 2013 TORONTO - Dear Mayor and City Council, Residents of the Harbourfront Community wish to register our endorsement of the position taken by NoJetsTO, that allowing jets to operate out of Toronto Island Airport would be a mistake. We are asking Toronto City Council to reject the proposal for expansion of the island airport, because industrial use of this land is in conflict with other intended and desired uses of the waterfront, as well as associated air, water and noise pollution problems. In our experience, the island airport has already done irreparable damage to the city's use of the waterfront. In our opinion, the island airport has killed Ontario Place, similar to the way it is currently destroying the Toronto Music Garden as a public tourist attraction. It also looks like any attempt to rejuvenate Ontario Place will be limited to industrial uses, because it will be impossible for any other use to co-exist beside a busy island airport. It just looks wrong that the federal port authority has a monopoly control over 215 acres of public parkland for $1 a year, and it adds insult to injury when they don't pay their city taxes, while paying themselves quarter million dollar salaries. In our opinion, this all adds up to a huge public subsidy for a private company operation. If we have to subsidize corporate welfare bums in this way, please don't make the situation worse by allowing them to use jets on Toronto's most valuable public parkland. To allow jets on Toronto's Waterfront would create future problems for the city, which would make our current Gardner Expressway problems seem minor by comparison. Please don't burden future generations of Torontonians with a bad decision today. Thank you for your consideration of this critical issue. Max Moore, Harbourfront Community Association
Toronto Physician and Community Advocate Endorses Campaign in Open Letter October 22, 2013 TORONTO - I am pleased to help support NoJetsTO's efforts. As a physician I'm obligated to advocate for the health and well-being of people. You can't maintain health if your environment is degraded. We learn more about this every day. As I'm sure you are aware, in recent news air pollution has now been labelled a carcinogen. You have my full support in halting this expansion. I'd even like to see a further push and have this island returned to the people of Toronto. Thank you for fighting this fight and standing up for the people of Toronto. With hope for a green and healthy waterfront for all... Dr. Pieter Jugovic _________________ Watch Dr. Pieter Jugovic's YouTube video
City Youth Councillor for Ward 29 Toronto-Danforth Speaks Out Against Jet Plans in Statement October 19, 2013 TORONTO - As City Youth Councillor for Ward 29, I am proud to lend my support to NoJetsTO in their effort to stop an expansion at the Billy Bishop Airport. Although the airport is not in my Ward, residents of Ward 29 feel very strongly about this issue. Residents of my Ward enjoy visiting the Waterfront, walking along Queens Quay, and stopping at the various park cafes in the area. The last thing they, and most Torontonians want to see as they take advantage of the beautiful waterfront, are giant jets flying above them. The expansion of the airport would have a massive impact on the residential communities surrounding the area, would negatively affect the wildlife, and would make enjoying the waterfront more difficult. An expanded Island airport does not fit in with the vision I, or residents of my Ward, have for Toronto. Sign NoJetTO's petition urging City Council to vote against this expansion so we can ensure our waterfront stays beautiful. Thanks Ali Chatur Youth Councillor, Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth, City Youth Council of Toronto