TPA Lashes Out Against City Staff in Letter to Rob Ford, Norm Kelly and Councillors TORONTO - The Toronto Port Authority is accusing city staff of making unreasonable demands that will essentially thwart approval plans for Porter Airlines to fly jets from the island airport. In a March 10 letter to Mayor Rob Ford and Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and all city councilors, port authority chair Mark McQueen says recent city staff requests on takeoff and landings slots as well as restricting commercial flights on weekends and holidays would “affect the long-term viability of the airport.” Calling them “poison pills,” McQueen said they “serve to ensure that neither the TPA nor federal government will be able to approve the Porter proposal, should these new conditions be ultimately required by Toronto city council.” Poison pills are devices used by companies to prevent a hostile takeover by making a stock less attractive. Last April, Porter Airlines said it had placed a conditional order to fly Bombardier’s new CSeries planes from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which would allow the regional carrier to fly to cities farther afield like Vancouver and Miami. However, Porter must win approval from the city, the port authority and Transport Canada to lift an existing jet ban as well as extend the runaway as much as 200 metres at each end. City officials have been studying the proposal, and has hired outside experts to offer opinions to the tune of $1.2 million, which was paid for by the port authority. Officials have urged city councillors to put off making any decision until March 2015, after October’s municipal election, citing too many unknowns including noise levels of the CSeries jet that hasn’t received certification yet and transportation challenges at the foot of Bathurst St. A deferral vote would be an easy out for politicians, given it is an election year, but Mayor Rob Ford and Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly are both in favour of jets at the airport, and the item is slated to be debated at the March 25 executive committee meeting. The port authority letter also says the city has proposed a commitment that no additional commercial slots be granted, which the port authority opposes. While the port authority says it currently has no intention to increase the current 202 daily slots, but it doesn’t mean that “new commercial slots are off the table forever.” The letter also said the port authority would be willing to set an interim hourly cap of 20 landings or takeoffs, to mitigate traffic concerns around the airport, and ensure an annual cap of 2.976 million airport passengers, not counting connecting traffic, while infrastructure improvements are made. However, the port authority says it is balking at the city’s demand that the agreement be written into the tripartite agreement that governs airport operations, instead of a separate agreement. When asked for an interview with port authority officials to elaborate on their opposition to city demands, The Star was told key officials including McQueen and president Geoff Wilson were away on vacation. Christopher Dunn, the city’s project manager on the Porter review, declined to comment saying a staff report to executive committee, due out next week, would address the issues. Councillor Adam Vaughan charged that the port authority is making a political play instead of answering the city’s concerns about traffic, noise, funding and environmental worries. “As the city asks for certainty, what you get from the port authority is political plays,” Vaughan said. “The analogy is they have asked us to buy a house, but they won’t tell us the location, the price, the number of bedrooms and every time, we try to put in protections, or scope, they go to the public and complain they are being scoped.” Vaughan added, “It is absurd than any attempt to protect the public interest is seen as a poison pill.” Porter spokesman Brad Cicero said the airline supports the idea of interim passenger and flight caps until the infrastructure is in place. “I don’t think there is any expectation that there would be unlimited growth ever at this airport,” he said, adding an hourly cap of up to a combination of 20 takeoffs or landings during peak times would be acceptable. Right now, at peak times, Porter uses about 15 slots. Cicero added the city and the port authority are in discussions, and both groups need to compromise “if you are going to have a reasonable solution.” Anshul Kapoor, chair of NoJetsTO, a citizens’ group opposed to jet expansion, charged the port authority has not fully addressed city staff’s concerns from safety to impact on lake water. “Now they are trying to position the city staff as the wrong doers,” he said in an email. “This rogue agency is like a spoiled brat who has gotten their way in the past and keeps trying to get their way by crying foul to their pals (Norm Kelly and Mayor Ford).” Source: Toronto Star article by Vanessa Lu, published 2014-03-12
Our Waterfront is for People to Live, Work and Play. Read the Waterfront Toronto Article TORONTO - There have been many questions recently about Toronto’s waterfront and how it is being transformed – now and in the future – from industrial lands into dynamic new mixed-use neighbourhoods anchored by spectacular parks and public spaces Many of these questions arise from the civic conversation over the proposed expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Waterfront Toronto’s board has made public its position on the issue, and has expressed its concern over the scale of the proposed expansion and its potential impact on the balance of the uses (residential, commercial, employment, recreation and tourism) being delivered on our waterfront. What we’d like to show you, simply, is what those uses look like. We think it’s important that you understand the overall vision we are realizing for the public realm and the important role we believe this plays in revitalizing our waterfront. Look again at some of the new parks, public spaces and other areas of your waterfront – some built, some under construction and some that we’ll build in the future. While we are engaging in these important debates about generational issues – whether it is the expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport or the future of the Gardiner Expressway – it is helpful to remind ourselves about the vision for Toronto’s waterfront revitalization and what it looks like. So as the public discussion continues, let’s look at what is happening on the waterfront and participate in a fact-based conversation about the space that we share. This photo gallery moves from west to east along the water's edge, showing you what has already been transformed and what soon will be. Waterfront Toronto has already invested over $1 billion in revitalization to date, so it’s also important for you to see what we’ve managed to accomplish with our waterfront and what is yet to come. ______________________ Source: Waterfront Toronto blog post, published 2014-03-05 Link to Waterfront Toronto pictures
Canadian Architect Magazine Editor Speaks Out Against Jets TORONTO - Canadian Architect Magazine editor Elsa Lam has published her viewpoint on the proposed island airport expansion. From an urban planning perspective and with consideration to the major enhancements underway to make Toronto’s waterfront a more accessible and enjoyable place for all, she urges against expanding the airport. Read her viewpoint as published in the Canadian Architect Magazine: Recently, West 8 and LANDinc unveiled their design for a new park and trail along the eastern edge of Ontario Place—the first stage of revitalization for the shuttered site. Conceptual renderings include a meandering path, wooded areas, a playful rocky scramble, and soft hills by the water’s edge, with prime views of the lake and city skyline. The new Ontario Place Park’s 270-degree views will also offer a sweeping vista onto Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport—the site of contentious debate over the future of Toronto’s waterfront. Porter Airlines, whose hub is at the Toronto Island airport, recently asked to expand its water-facing runways 200 metres on each end to accommodate the operation of 30 new jets, due for delivery in 2016. The short-range turbo props that Porter currently operates carry 70 passengers; the proposed long-range jets carry 110 passengers. In 2012, 2.3 million passengers moved through the airport; with the extended runway and jets, along with potentially more frequent landings and takeoffs, the airport could conceivably double its capacity to serve from 4.3 to 4.8 million passengers yearly. Concerns about the proposal have centred on pollution and noise impacts for Toronto Island residents, as well as for the Bathurst Quay community on the shoreside. A Toronto Public Health assessment notes that the airport, even in its current form, contributes to air quality and noise-related health concerns. Apartments, parks, and a school and community centre are located as little as 0.5 kilometres from the airport—and more residential uses will potentially occupy the nearby Canada Malting Lands and Ontario Place sites. Moreover, a greater number of travellers would add to an already stressed downtown traffic situation, particularly as more luggage-laden leisure passengers join the laptop-and-jacket business passengers that currently form the majority of airport users. Of grave concern in the long term is the potential shift from the central waterfront’s carefully cultivated mix of leisure and residential uses towards a new focus on airport uses and logistics. In the airport’s immediate vicinity, H2O Park, the Toronto Music Garden, Ireland Park, Coronation Park, and the soon-to-be-realized Ontario Place Park form green beads on what is close to becoming a continuous recreational pathway along the waterfront. The water-flanking Queen’s Quay roadway, which terminates nearby, is currently being revitalized as a modern boulevard including a two-lane road, a separated streetcar corridor, bicycle lanes, and a pedestrian promenade. Are these carefully designed public amenities to become anterooms en route to the island airport, rather than the vibrant cultural parks and tourist draws they were intended to be? To its credit, the Toronto Port Authority has requested a $100-million loan from federal coffers to support restructuring of groundside areas, in the event that jets are permitted. […] But no current master plan has yet been tabled. Given the limited open space in the area, it will be challenging to accommodate private cars, taxis, and parking for a doubled passenger load. A study by transportation planners BA Group, commissioned by the City of Toronto, concludes that the only way to significantly increase road capacity and improve vehicular traffic to the airport would involve extending an adjacent street, Dan Leckie Way, over Lake Ontario to connect to the airport’s main access road. This drastic option would significantly disrupt the continuity of the waterfront. Toronto has made a major investment into developing its waterfront as a densely populated, vibrant area that provides strong connections to the lakefront. That vision is just now coming to fruition. The network of spectacular waterfront parks that is currently emerging has not only attracted private development projects, but will leave a legacy of public infrastructure that will serve the city for decades to come. City Council would be wise to protect this vision against the incompatible expansion of the island airport. Source: Canadian Architect Magazine website article, published 2014-02-01 Twitter: @cdnarch
Op-Ed Titled "Island Airport Expansion is a Change in Kind not a Change in Degree"
TORONTO - It has been suggested that there should be a “compromise” to resolve the dispute over Toronto’s island airport. After all, this is the Canadian way. Some well-meaning voices say: “I am for state-of-the-art ‘quiet’ jets but against any substantial increase in service; can’t we just limit the volume of flights to protect the livability of the waterfront and surrounding neighbourhoods?” But that option is not on the table. The proposal is to double the size of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to equal the capacity of Ottawa’s International Airport serving between 4.3 and 4.8 million passengers a year.
Picture runway extensions the length of two football fields at both ends into Toronto Harbour and into the Western Gap, with enlarged exclusion zones to keep boat traffic away. Picture rows of light approach towers extending up to 700 metres beyond the runways as mandated by Transport Canada to accommodate planes landing and taking off every two minutes.
Add to that high and obtrusive walls lining the runways to shield small boats from jet thrust. And on the land side, doubled volumes of traffic carrying passengers, jet fuel, services and supplies overwhelm the already impossibly congested five-point intersection at Bathurst, Lake Shore and Fleet. This on top of noise concerns, impacts on air quality and habitat.
This is not a change in degree; it is a profound change in kind. We are talking about a different kind of airport.
Both the city’s medical officer of health and the board of Waterfront Toronto have sounded the alarm. If an application were made today for a new airport the size of the Ottawa International Airport on the Toronto waterfront, the incompatibility would be perfectly obvious. This doubling (and change in kind) is being rushed through as though it were an incremental modification with no clear applicant, no environmental assessment, no completed master plan, no jet planes certified, no business plan, no infrastructure plan and no funds to implement.
The justifications for the rush to judgment to approve this massive shift are convenience for some business travellers and a purported economic advantage. Both are specious. The net benefits in either case, given the opening of the air-rail link next year, are likely marginal. Much more important is what would be sacrificed.
It is our waterfront. From south Etobicoke to the Scarborough Bluffs and beyond, what is emerging all along the Toronto waterfront is one of the most remarkable transformations of its kind anywhere. The revitalization of these strategically located, obsolescent lands is providing new and improved places for the public to enjoy: parks and trails, a linked series of neighbourhoods, places to live and work, and places of recreation, repose and natural beauty.
The waterfront is where Toronto is reinventing itself for the 21st century, adjusting to the city’s new southern face. Our waterfront is materializing as the collective work of generations of Torontonians, supported by investments of all three levels of government and the private sector.
Its future contours are just becoming visible as the many pieces fall into place — from the promise of a revived Ontario Place/Exhibition Place, including the newly announced park, to the music garden shaped by Yo-Yo Ma and the Queens Quay Greenway currently under construction, to Sugar Beach and Sherbourne Common in the heart of the new East Bayfront neighbourhood, with George Brown College and $2.6 billion of private investment in progress — making it one of the largest such revitalization efforts in the world.
The problem is that this entire band of waterfront is on the flight path of and bisected by the overburdened “land path” leading to Billy Bishop airport. And unlike the other cities where a close-by airport is somewhat removed from the core, Billy Bishop sits right on Toronto Harbour, the heart and focal point of this entire endeavour, the gateway to our unique treasure, the Toronto Islands.
The key to the waterfront’s future success is that one activity not be allowed to dominate the others. This equilibrium breaks down when a single element is overscaled to the point that its impacts impair other uses and activities. That is what the proposed expansion of the airport would do.
This is not about Porter Airlines. The proposed expansion of the island airport would inevitably open it to major carriers like Air Canada, WestJet and United, which have already declared their intentions.
The existing airport is an accepted fact. Its continued presence has been based on the understanding set out in the 1983 tripartite agreement that allows only turboprop passenger service at Billy Bishop airport with additional expansion capacity. That is the compromise that was already reached and should be honoured.
Ken Greenberg is the former head of urban design in the Toronto planning department; Anne Golden is chair of the Transit Investment Advisory Panel; David Crombie is a former mayor of Toronto; Jack Diamond is a Toronto-based international architect; Paul Bedford was the chief planner of Toronto. Source: Toronto Star op-ed, published 2014-02-09
Blogger Breaks Down Porter's Misleading Claims in Great Article TORONTO - The signs are everywhere. “I’m on Board!” they read. “Really,” I think, “How could you possibly?” While residents around the world are fighting nearby airport expansion tooth and nail (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted to name a few), Torontonians are driving around with bumper stickers and sticking signs in their lawn, begging the city to allow Porter Airlines’s proposed expansion of Toronto City Airport (TCA) in the heart of the city. Isn’t it bad enough the Gardiner Expressway disfigures the waterfront – its towering overpass a permanent visual reminder of the lack of vision of past councilors and city planners? And now we want to expand Porter’s runway so more, and bigger planes can come and go? No other modern city in the world is considering this. It’s akin to New York putting an airport in the Hudson or London doing the same next to Big Ben in the Thames. It simply would never happen – at any scale. The last true downtown airport closed in 1998. When the Kai Tak Airport was built in Hong Kong in the thirties, it was located far from residential areas. Over the years, as the city grew, apartment towers began encroaching on the airport. Eventually the noise and pollution became too much for residents and they called for it to be moved (space also became an issue as the airport was operating overcapacity for many years). Countless studies have pointed to the detrimental health effects of living near an airport. Researchers at King’s College found those living in neighbourhoods closest to the airport had greater risks of heart disease. Loud noise can lead to short-term increases in blood pressure, long-term exposure amplifies the risk. It’s findings mirrored a similar study published in The Lancet. In another study, two thirds of respondents living near airports reported trouble sleeping compared to one third of respondents living in “quiet” neighbourhoods. Meanwhile, back in Toronto, Porter has been on a campaign to drum up support for its plan to expand TCA’s runway by 200 metres on each end AND be allowed to fly jets into the airport. The airline attempts to address people’s concerns on its website under a tab labelled “The Facts.” In Porter’s words: Noise – The CS100 (which is the jet Porter plans to fly) has proven to be even quieter than Toronto City Airport’s extremely strict noise limit. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Bombardier’s Whisper Jet (aka CS100) while an appealing name, is really a masterful marketing misnomer. In fact the Whisper Jet makes about the same amount of noise as the turbo props Porter currently operates. Which is to say, quite a bit. While the specs call for the CS100 noise levels to be at or under the airport’s accepted levels, let’s remember, the specs aren’t guaranteed. The plane is still in the development stage. This past January, months after the results of its September test flight became clear, Bombardier announced it is delaying production to iron out kinks. While the jets are in the development phase – according to Bombardier – “all data and specification are estimates, subject to changes in family strategy, branding, capacity and performance during the development, manufacture and certification process. “ Here’s another Porter claim: Lake – The runway proposal being considered can accommodate the CS100 without any impact on boating in Lake Ontario. So, let’s get this straight, building 400 additional meters of runway in Lake Ontario will in NO WAY effect boating? That defies logic. According to Paul Bedford (former chief planner of Toronto), David Crombie (former Toronto mayor) and Jack Diamond (internationally renowned Toronto architect) in a recentGlobe and Mail article, “to minimize the jet blast on small boats, a high and obtrusive jet blast deflector wall would be constructed across the entire width of the runway at both ends.” No impact you say? And this is what Porter says about the environment: The CS100 consumes half the fuel and produces fewer emissions per passenger than most compact cars. However you spin it, that’s still a lot of fuel (and therefore CO2, nitrous oxides, sulphate and soot). Where do you think it will lan d, condo dwellers? And since Porter is comparing the emissions per passenger, let’s remember these jets carry significantly more people (110 passengers) than the 70 seat Q400 currently in operation. So put another way, it will be like having 110 compact car idling above you. Some supporters of the plan are making the case that Vancouver’s Coal Harbour float plane terminal, also in the heart of downtown, is an example of an inner city airport that works. The truth is these two airports couldn’t be more different. Firstly, Coal Harbour operates a fraction of flights that TCA does. Secondly, many of these flights service coastal communities (Saltspring, Maple Bay, Bedwell Harbour) that otherwise would not be accessible by plane. Porter’s plans are to start flying the jets to Calgary, Los Angeles, Florida – destinations that already have ample scheduled routes. Additionally, the biggest plane flying out of Coal Harbour is Harbour Air’s DeHavilland Twin Otter that holds up to 18 passengers. It is safe to say 18 passengers converging on downtown to make their flight will not lead to traffic congestion. Unlike the additional 2,000,000 passengers per year projected to go through TCA if the expansion goes ahead. And, since Porter brought up the environment, it may be interested to know that since 2007 Harbour Air has been carbon neutral and the seaplane terminal it flies from is LEED certified. That’s not to say all is peachy in Coal Harbour. There is mounting objection to the terminal. Last summer a doctor who resides in the neighbourhood (and is also a Chief Medical Health Officer for a local health authority) urged parents with small children living in the area to have their children’s blood checked for unhealthy levels of lead. This came (according to a report from the CBC) after dust on nearby balconies was tested and found to contain lead. Some planes burn fuel that contains lead. Ultimately, the question needs to be asked: Why does the city need this? Porter and its supporters point to the positive economic impacts expansion will have on the city. Deluce estimates Porter would add 1,000 more jobs. That may be true. A casino would have produced positive economic impacts too, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Convenience is also touted as a reason. But the reality is almost 60% of Porter’s customers are business travelers. Thirty per cent of passengers use the airport one or two times monthly according to the Toronto Port Authority. The convenience is already there. It won’t change if this proposal gets shut down. The expansion plans are really about Porter servicing the vacation traveller. And when you’re talking a 5-hour flight to LA or Vancouver, how inconvenient is it really to drive an extra 30 minutes to Pearson? Yes, time is valuable, but so is fresh air, peaceful bike paths and not being woken up at 6:30 am because a plane is about to land. After many missteps, The City of Toronto is finally on the right path with its waterfront renewal initiative. Let’s not reverse course. If we can all look past our narrow self- interest, I think we could agree that having a revitalized waterfront that thousands upon thousands of people will be able to enjoy for years to come would trump saving 30 extra minutes travel time once or twice a year when you are going on vacation. Source: Canada.com website article, published 2014-01-31
Selected Articles and Videos about the Anti-Jet-Dominated Public Consultation TORONTO - In a more balanced fashion than usual, Toronto's media covered Monday's public consultation. Take a look at these articles and videos.
- CTV: news article and video
- Global News: video and Canadian Press article
- NOW Magazine: news article
- Toronto Star: article focusing on Transport Canada presentation
- Toronto Star: article focusing on Toronto Port Authority presentation
- Susan Swan: blog entry by the prominent author and NoJetsTO supporter
The Globe and Mail Op-Ed: Waterfront Champions Diamond, Bedford, Crombie, Greenberg and Golden Speak Out Against Jets TORONTO - Toronto City Council is about to decide the future of Toronto’s waterfront. What is being proposed is nothing less than the transformation of a small, inner city airport to a major international one. This decision is not about Porter Airlines, whose service and convenience are widely appreciated by many. It is not about a little airport. It is not about a limited expansion. Porter is seeking approval to grow the annual passenger volume from the current 2.3-million travellers to 4.8-million. That is about the same passenger volume as the Ottawa International Airport – Canada’s sixth-largest. If council chooses to permit the expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to allow jet service, a series of negative consequences will be unleashed that will change the waterfront forever. Here’s why: First, jet service to the airport requires an extension of the runway by up to 200 metres in each direction into the harbour and into Lake Ontario. The existing marine buoys at either end of the runway may need to be extended to accommodate safety requirements. We will be left with a smaller, more congested harbour. To minimize the jet blast on small boats, a high and obtrusive jet blast deflector wall would be constructed across the entire width of the runway at both ends. On the west side, the new Ontario Place water’s edge park would be a mere 300 metres from the end of the runway. Second, traffic congestion will intensify. Adding more cars and taxis – the predominant travel option – to Lower Bathurst St., Queen’s Quay and Lakeshore Blvd. will only add more chaos to an area that is already on the edge of failure during peak periods. Traffic consultants retained by the city have concluded that there is no way the current road network could handle the proposed expansion of passenger volume. It is not clear how the $100-million sought from the federal and provincial governments for ground infrastructure improvements would address this problem. The expansion would cater to the vacation traveller, instead of the commuter business community. This will result in totally different and escalating demands for longer-term parking, luggage and ground support operations. Conflicts between vehicular traffic and the safety of elementary school children have already resulted in suggestions to consider relocating the existing Waterfront School and Harbourfront Community Centre. Third, Torontonians currently enjoy a range of waterfront activities, including recreation and culture. This is a core issue. If the airport doubles in passenger volume with the planned runway expansions, it could mean, over time, a gradual increase of up to 30-36 aircraft movements per peak hour. This means a jet could land or take off every two minutes. Air Canada and WestJet have already indicated their desire to operate jet service out of an expanded Island Airport. Such continued growth would choke the neighbourhood and its services. Offering jet service to such distant destinations as Vancouver, California, Florida and the Caribbean would tip the balance. The airport would dominate the waterfront rather than being part of a range of human-scale activities for citizens and tourists. The effects of airport growth to this point on the Bathurst Quay community are already considerable, and would worsen under an expansion. In warmer months, residents have experienced a residue from aircraft fuel on their windows, balconies and furniture. The Toronto Medical Officer of Health has documented the health impact of the airport and its expansion. This led to the unanimous rejection of the proposed airport expansion by the Board of Health. In 1999, the people of Toronto celebrated when the federal, provincial and municipal governments came together to establish Waterfront Toronto. This corporation has invested more than $1.5-billion of public money in the visible revitalization of our entire waterfront, 47 kilometres spanning the amalgamated City of Toronto from Scarborough to Etobicoke. This civic renewal has improved the quality of life for a public who now have access to their waterfront. Toronto’s Official Plan also requires that airport operations comply with the 1983 Tripartite Agreement and that improvements to the airport’s facilities have no adverse impacts on the surrounding community. The scale and scope of the airport expansion and introduction of jets are simply not compatible with this vision – and council policies. There is no such thing as a “little big airline” or a “little big airport.” Those are clever words masking private gain and public loss. We cannot allow it to replace a highly valued public vision for our waterfront. We only have one waterfront and it belongs to everyone. Eds Note: An earlier version of this column said Continental Airlines expressed interest in using the Island Airport. Continental has merged with United Airlines and relinquished its landing slots to Porter in 2011. Paul Bedford was the chief planner of Toronto from 1996-2004; David Crombie is a former mayor of Toronto; Jack Diamond is Toronto-based international architect; Anne Golden is the chair of the Transit Investment Advisory Panel; Ken Greenberg is the former head of urban design in the Toronto planning department. Source: The Globe and Mail op-ed, published 2014-01-29
Toronto Sun Columnist Sue-Ann Levy Talks to NoJetsTO Chair Anshul Kapoor TORONTO - The 34-year-old founder of the anti-airport expansion group NoJetsTO wants to make it clear he is not at all against an island airport. Anshul Kapoor is only against an expanded airport with jets landing there. In fact, the father of one, who lives on Queens Quay across from the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA), says he was “absolutely not” part of the original battle in 2003 when opponents wanted to turn the airport into a park. He said he regularly flies Porter and can walk from his condo to the BBTCA. But his concern is that the uncapped growth of the airport has created a “hellhole” at the bottom of Bathurst Quay — traffic congestion, an influx of passengers and ongoing construction — and that is having an impact on the Queens Quay revitalization. There’s been no long-term vision created for the airport or the area around it, which has turned the growth into a free-for-all, he added. “We’re saying keep the airport and make it a better regional, boutique, niche airport that it is supposed to be,” Kapoor said. “If you try to throw it out as a jetport or a mini-Pearson, you’re trying to grow it out of its footprint into something it was never intended to be.”
Column in the Toronto Star: "Is quiet deal over Billy Bishop Airport fees a prelude to allowing jets at island?" TORONTO - Except for one little thing, Robert Deluce has almost all he needs to realize his dream of flying jets out of Billy Bishop airport.
Unfortunately for him, that one thing is the truth. The facts make it clear that passenger jets have no place at the already too-heavily-used island facility.
Unfortunately for Toronto, the truth is unlikely to play much of a role when it comes to giving Deluce what he wants.
Just last week, after a fight between city hall and the Toronto Port Authority that dates back to 1999 (when the federal agency that owns and operates Billy Bishop rose from the ashes of the Toronto Harbour Commission), the two quietly, furtively, announced the port authority would pay the city a “payment-in-lieu-of-taxes” of 94 cents per passenger. In case you had forgotten, federal bodies are exempt from municipal property tax. This so-called PILT, which will amount to barely more than $1 million annually, means the authority, which has fought the city at every turn since the days when current federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt was port authority CEO, can now present itself as a model of civic co-operation.
For many Torontonians, especially those who fly Porter Airlines, that will be enough to ensure their support for airport expansion.
So far, the arguments in favour have been based on the simplistic issue of the noise levels of jets and the highly dubious claim that the facility contributes $1.9 billion to the Toronto economy.
Safety, both of passengers and the thousands who live around Billy Bishop, has never been seriously discussed by any of the proponents of expansion. And for good reason. The fact is the island airport simply cannot support jets with any margin of error. The one thing Deluce and his allies don’t want us to know is that there’s not enough room. Even with a longer runway, there isn’t enough room for jets to take off and land safely.
Anyone who claims otherwise would put profit ahead of people. Few expect more from the corporate sector, but surely we should be able to rely on city councillors to put the interests of Torontonians above those of business?
Already, the students at the Waterfront School and users of the Harbourfront Community Centre breathe some of the most toxic air in Toronto — because of taxies not turboprops.
One might also have thought that the city (as well as the federal and provincial governments) would want to protect the roughly $4 billion they and their private-sector partners have invested in waterfront revitalization, which ultimately will create much more wealth for Toronto than the island airport.
But, as often seems the case, convenience is at the heart of the matter. The small cohort of Porter flyers loves it because it’s downtown and easy to use. By contrast, Pearson is a Kafkaesque nightmare where nothing works and nobody’s around to explain why you’ve been waiting for hours, even days, for something to happen.
Deluce and his team are to be admired for their salesmanship, but in their zeal they have lost sight of the bigger picture. Marketing excellence shouldn’t be confused with doing the right thing.
Allowing jets at Billy Bishop would open the floodgates; already WestJet wants in, and how soon before Air Canada demands its share of the action?
The beauty of the island airport has always been its size. Making it larger would kill the goose that laid the golden egg, and for Deluce, mark the triumph of greed over need.
Christopher Hume can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Source of Article: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/01/20/council_port_authority_pave_way_for_harmful_island_airport_expansion_hume.html
NOW Magazine: Urban Designer Ken Greenberg Details Case Against the Waterfront Jet Plans TORONTO - From south Etobicoke to the Scarborough Bluffs and beyond, what is emerging all along the Toronto waterfront is one of the most remarkable transformations of its kind in North America or anywhere. The revitalization of a band of strategically located obsolescent lands is providing notable new and improved places for the public to enjoy: parks and trails, a linked series of neighbourhoods, places to live and work and places of recreation, repose and natural beauty. It’s “cottage country” in the heart of the city for the many hundreds of thousands who can’t afford Muskoka or a plane ticket to more exotic resort destinations. It’s also where Toronto is reinventing itself for the 21st century, adjusting to the city’s new southern face. Our waterfront is materializing not as a singular project but the collective work of generations of Torontonians, supported by the cumulative investments of all three levels of government and the private sector. Its future contours are just starting to be visible as the many pieces fall into place along its length – from the promise of a revived Ontario Place/Exhibition Place, including the newly announced park, to the Music Garden shaped by Yoyo Ma and the Queens Quay Greenway currently under construction, to Sugar Beach and Sherbourne Common in the heart of the new East Bayfront neighbourhood, with George Brown College and $2.6 billion of private investment in progress – making it one of the largest such revitalization efforts in the world. The rub: this entire band of waterfront is on the flight path of and bisected by the overburdened “land path” leading to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. And unlike the other cities where a close-by airport is somewhat removed from the core, Billy Bishop sits right on Toronto Harbour, the heart and focal point of this entire blue edge, framed by the most active and populous areas of the waterfront and the gateway to our unique treasure, the Toronto Islands. The key to the waterfront’s future success? No one activity can be allowed to dominate the others. This equilibrium breaks down when a single element is exaggerated or over-scaled to the point that its impacts impair other uses and activities. That is what the proposed expansion of the airport, extending the runway by 400 metres to allow jets, would do. Richard Florida understood the issue of balance when we worked together to fend off two previous threats to the waterfront: the ill-advised attempt to remove parkland and replace the city’s approved plan for the Lower Don Lands with a “lifestyle” shopping centre, Ferris wheel and luxury marina; and the proposed mega-casino resort complex whose preferred waterfront location was Exhibition Place. It was clear, given their adverse impacts, that these temptations to sacrifice long-term benefits for illusory short-term gain made little sense. But Florida argues in a recent article in the Toronto Star that airports contribute to local economies and that the benefits of expansion outweigh the potential costs. We should “bring on the jets” at Billy Bishop. I can only assume that he has seriously underestimated the impacts of Porter Airlines’ proposal. I want to open the lens a little wider to look at the big picture and what’s at stake. New York is one of the cities cited in Florida’s article, and it’s an apt analogy. New York City has been steadily turning over its river and seaside edges to magnificent public uses, ringing the island of Manhattan with an accessible waterfront from Hudson River Park, which replaces the West Side Highway, to the Battery at the southern tip, and now the new East River Esplanade and over the Brooklyn Bridge to the enormously popular, still expanding Brooklyn Bridge Park. And all of it surrounds NYC’s own “blue room,” New York Harbor, including Governors Island, Staten Island and Liberty State Park. A new study released by TD Economics in December entitled The Greening Of New York City: Lessons From The Big Apple looks specifically at the economic value of such green spaces, arguing that rehabilitation for public uses is an effective urban development strategy. It notes that New York is hailed as one of the greenest cities in the U.S., the result of strong leadership that views the environment not as a cost but as an economic opportunity. In Florida’s Star article, there’s a telling quote from a source who says airports are to 21st century cities what highways were to the 20th in terms of expanding communication. Need we remind ourselves of the damage done by overreliance on urban highways when we pushed them through the hearts of our cities, eviscerating neighbourhoods and creating new barriers? And how Toronto famously reversed course, rejecting the proposed Spadina Expressway, Crosstown Expressway and Scarborough Expressway to our lasting credit and benefit? What Porter CEO Robert Deluce is proposing is not an incremental enlargement of the airport but a profound change in its nature, a virtual doubling of air traffic and then some. A comparison has been made with the volumes at Ottawa International Airport. It’s important to understand what this would mean both physically and operationally. The airport’s current 2 million annual passengers already cause severe vehicular and pedestrian congestion in the Bathurst Quay neighbourhood as lines of taxis wait on the east side of Little Norway Park and buses pick up and drop off passengers. Conflicts intensify dramatically in the morning and afternoon rush hours, when students and other locals enter and exit the Harbourfront School and Community Centre, which have already become an island surrounded by traffic. Many more fuel trucks to supply large new jet fuel storage tanks would also be added to the traffic mix. Along with large increases in traffic of all kinds – cars, buses, taxis, service vehicles – and pressures for additional parking, extension of the runway would require the building of vertical walls to protect Bathurst Quay from jet thrust, blocking views of the lake and islands. But the effects of airport expansion are not just local; the ripples for land, water and the atmosphere would be felt from south Etobicoke to the Bluffs On the water side, airport expansion would shrink and engulf our own “blue room,” a sheltered historic harbour used and enjoyed by boaters in kayaks, canoes, sailboats, excursion boats and ferries. David McKeown, Toronto’s medical officer of health, has made in-depth studies of the environmental and health impacts of such a dramatic change. In November he issued a heath impact assessment detailing significant negative effects on climate change, water and air quality, noise levels, health care costs, tourism, recreation, cultural activities, community services, community character and feelings of safety and well-being. The critical point he makes is that it’s a mistake to narrowly consider the many individual negative impacts of airport expansion in isolation. Rather, we must look at their cumulative impact on a setting already under pressure. Expansion of current levels of activity at Billy Bishop risks pushing local problems over the edge and undermining the whole waterfront’s ability to perform extremely important roles for the city in economic, social and environmental terms. Politically, once the die is cast on expansion, the city relinquishes effective control over these impacts to the federally appointed Port Authority, which can then saddle the city with the legal obligation to deal with repercussions. And opening that door would unleash an unstoppable momentum to keep escalating air traffic and its collateral effects. The stated goal of airport expansion is to offer jet service to western Canadian cities, California, Florida and the Caribbean. This would of course not be limited to one carrier. WestJet and Air Canada, among others, want in on the act; WestJet has already announced its intention to seek slots to fly its expanded fleet of 737 jets into Billy Bishop. I do use Billy Bishop airport. I can even walk there. I recognize how convenient it is for travellers like me, but that does not justify its expansion. I accept it at its current size with the proviso that we now set about repairing the environment around it and solving the problems it is already creating, not exponentially multiplying them. By any measure, airport expansion represents a drastic shift. Its negative impacts are not “surmountable,” nor can they be solved by a combination of technological fixes. The expansion of the airport and the introduction of jets runs the very real risk of undoing and setting back decades of efforts, going back to David Crombie’s Royal Commission and the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, including the current excellent work of Waterfront Toronto. The overall aim of that work has been to reclaim the water’s edge as an area that is “clean, green, accessible to all and contributes to economic prosperity and vitality of the city as a whole,” in McKeown’s words. In the end it comes down to the issue of balance. Periodically, every great city has to make strategic decisions, irrevocable choices that come around only once. Now is the time to reaffirm the great and generous waterfront vision unanimously adopted by city council in 2003, not to abandon or undermine our project. Airport expansion, whatever its merits in terms of convenience for a particular group of business travellers, should not trump the larger public good.
Ken Greenberg is an architect, urban designer, teacher, writer, former director of urban design and architecture for the city of Toronto, and principal of Greenberg Consultants. email@example.com Source of Article: https://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=196156
Waterfront countdown800 hectares Area tapped for waterfront development. 300 hectares Waterfront land designated for parks and open spaces. 55 hectares Contaminated industrial land reclaimed for development in the East Bayfront and West Don Lands. $1.9 billion Gross output for the Canadian economy generated since 2001 by waterfront projects. 40,000 Jobs that will be created on the waterfront once projects are completed. 34,000 Trees that will be planted. 17 New or improved parks.
Ken Greenberg is an architect, urban designer, teacher, writer, former director of urban design and architecture for the city of Toronto, and principal of Greenberg Consultants. firstname.lastname@example.org Source of Article: https://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=196156