Producers of The Agenda Backpedal After Airing Deluce 'Advertorial': Read the TVO Blog Post October 23, 2013 TORONTO - Our Monday interview with Porter CEO Robert Deluce about his desire to expand Toronto's downtown island airport to include jet traffic was met with one of the most critical responses online that we've encountered in a long time. We got a lot of negative comments particularly via Twitter. People were basically upset over two things: First, a perceived lack of balance by not having someone opposed to the airport expansion on the same program as Deluce. Second, the sense that the interview failed to ask Deluce several key questions. Given the amount of negative comments we received, I'd like to explain the editorial rationale for inviting Deluce solo, and then go over some of the steps we've taken to address some of the concerns expressed. Why Interview Deluce One-on-One? We typically do at least one interview one-on-one per program. We feel that while multi-guest debates are an important way to get at the issues, one-on-one interviews can also be an effective way to examine ideas and get people to justify their proposals. I'd like to make it clear that, contrary to some suspicions raised on Twitter, it was our idea to interview Deluce and we contacted his office first, not the other way around. Since Deluce represents the group arguing for a change to the status quo, we thought it made sense to invite him on to justify his plan to expand the island airport. (I know many feel we could have done a much better job interviewing him, and I'll address that later.) Porter is also an interesting example of business success during a period of economic difficulty for the province. Many Ontarians seem pleased with the company and its aims, and their interest in Porter's story needs to be reflected on our program as well. We've interviewed a wide variety of people one-on-one. We've interviewed powerful people from business, such as Mr. Deluce, one-on-one. We've also interviewed heads of prominent charitable organizations, such as Stephen Cornish of Doctors Without Borders, one-on-one. We've interviewed one-on-one people who want society to take a more sustainable approach to food and agriculture, such as Elizabeth May and Michael Pollan. We've interviewed one-on-one people opposing powerful business and political interests, such as when we interviewed Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeownover his concerns about the health risks of a major casino, or when we interviewedGeorge Galloway, the outspoken, anti-war British politician. These are but a few examples of many. The list goes on. Our program does firmly believe in balance. But we think that balance can sometimes be best achieved over the course of several programs. For example, if the prime minister is available for an interview, we will make an effort to invite the leader of the opposition on as well, but we know that might not happen on the very same day. The leader of the opposition might only be available the following week, or it might make sense editorially to wait until later to give him an opportunity to put forward his view. In the case of the island airport, it is not until December that Toronto will render a decision. We actually thought it would make more sense to wait until we get closer to the actual decision time to explore the issue again. Just because we only had Deluce on Monday's program did not mean that we were not interested in featuring other voices on the issue in the future. Monday is not meant to be the final statement on the airport debate. It's also important to point out that in an Internet age the notion of journalistic balance also crosses platforms. Counterpoints to a broadcast interview can be raised in blog posts, graphics and other content posted online (and vice versa). We have done some of that already as you'll read in a moment. Why Didn't You Ask "X"? As for concerns that we could have done a better job on the questions we put to Deluce: we have read the suggestions and complaints that have been made, and I'm sure they will inform any more segments we produce on this subject. Let me tell you about a few things we have done over the past few days to try and address the concern that Monday's program lacked balance and the complaints that some important points were missed in the interview. I'm not suggesting that these efforts will completely eliminate some viewers' frustration with Monday's segment. But please understand they are efforts on our part to respond to viewer concerns and to better inform the debate over the proposed airport expansion.
- We published a blog post featuring many of the comments and complaints made via Twitter last night.
- We published a second blog post highlighting an argument many wished had been presented Monday night: That the images provided by Porter comparing the size of the current planes and the proposed jets minimized the size disparity.
- We also amended the list of choices for our weekly Story of the Week poll to include the island airport debate. This ended up being the choice that got the most votes, and as I write this we are arranging an interview with a critic of the airport expansion proposal that will air on Friday's program.
- Our Story of the Week poll is something we do every week, and is an effort to take some power out of the producers' hands and put it in the viewers' hands. It is seen by us as a way for viewers to help shape our content rather than leaving all editorial decisions solely to the judgment of the Agenda's staff. Polling was selected in part because it was seen as the most effective way to reach out to all our viewers across the province and -- while internet polls are far from perfect -- make sure that the story of the week was not selected based on just a few loud voices.
- The Story of the Week poll was amended to include the airport story in response to viewer feedback.
- We had programming pre-committed for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Story of the Week segment was the earliest we could do a second interview on the airport situation. So it is the quickest way to address viewer concerns.
- If the airport story had not been selected by the poll respondents to be the Story of the Week, it did not mean we would not produce another airport expansion segment before the City's decision. I think it would have been quite likely we would have produced another segment on the airport proposal closer to the December decision date had the poll turned out differently.
Globe and Mail Article on TPA Speech Includes Comments from NoJetsTO Chair October 21, 2013 TORONTO - The operator of Toronto’s downtown airport is willing to support commercial jets at the facility. In the first detailed explanation of the Toronto Port Authority’s stance on the proposal floated by Porter Airlines, TPA chairman Mark McQueen laid out the specific criteria that the jets would have to satisfy. Among them, they can’t exceed the current noise regulations and there can’t be a negative impact on the environment. He also stressed that his organization would only consider the question seriously provided city council supports the proposal, which would require re-opening a 30-year-old agreement between the city, the TPA and Transport Canada that governs use of the island airport. “The TPA’s task is to ensure that the airport’s operations fit into, and not dominate, Toronto’s lively waterfront and south-core area,” Mr. McQueen told a lunchtime audience at the Toronto Region Board of Trade. “The airport’s a success, and that success deserves to be embraced. But, as the airport’s operator, we recognize that we have to get this right, while doing no harm.” Jets were specifically banned before Porter began operating at the island. President and CEO Robert Deluce is hoping, though, that his company will be permitted to use a new Bombardier plane, the CS100, that he likes to call a “whisper jet.” The proposal has sparked a mixed reaction at city hall and among the public and has galvanized opponents. In his speech, Mr. McQueen went into detail, laying out what he said would be the basis for the TPA deciding whether to support Porter’s proposal. Stressing that these were “in no particular order,” he cited noise levels, better use of flight slots, environment impact, effect on livability, improved vehicle flows, a business case and growing the city’s economy. Mr. McQueen also took the opportunity to launch a series of broadsides at critics of the proposal. He called it “the definition of irony” that some were using social media, a new technology, to criticize jets while ignoring that aviation technology has changed as well. And he dismissed those who would use “fairy-tale suggestions” to argue against changes at the airport. Opponents were quick to note the incongruity of delivering a speech entitled “do no harm” that was peppered with criticisms of those who disagree. “That, to me, sounds like they are supporting Porter plans, but they’re not coming out and saying it,” Anshul Kapoor, Chair of NoJets TO, told reporters. Offered the chance to respond to this criticism, Mr. McQueen said by e-mail that the TPA “takes no position on Porter’s business aspirations” and that they support what is best for its “key stakeholders: the community around the airport and those travel through it.” Mr. Kapoor’s group does not oppose the status quo at the airport but is worried about expansion and what that would do for pollution, traffic, noise and quality of life. Brian Iler, the head of another opposition group, Community Air, said that the TPA is doing “everything they can to support Porter” and called into question the value of an island airport once a rail link to Pearson begins operating. “It becomes irrelevant, doesn’t it?” he said. “Because with a fast link to Pearson, and with Pearson having lots of capacity, there’s really no need for this airport.” Source: The Globe and Mail article
National Post Reports About TPA Chair's Speech, Features NoJetsTO's Comments October 21, 2013 TORONTO - The chairman of the Toronto Port Authority took aim Monday at the “fairy-tale” scenarios painted by opponents of Porter Airlines’ request to extend a runway at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and allow commercial jets to fly in and out. Mark McQueen sought to separate “reality from the myths” with a lunchtime speech at the Toronto Region Board of Trade, in which he reiterated the port authority will not take a position on the contentious proposal until, and if, it is approved by city council. He said the TPA would be open to any aircraft that meets noise standards set out in a tripartite agreement governing airport use. Porter president Robert Deluce had originally sought an exemption for the Bombardier CS100 planes, but modified that stance on Monday, saying he also supports lifting the jet ban completely at the island airport, as long as noise regulations are still met. Mr. Deluce announced this spring a $2.29-billion plan to purchase up to 30 of the so-called “whisper jets” to fly to more far-flung destinations, such as Calgary and California. “There may well be many valid arguments against the Porter proposal, but this issue shouldn’t turn on fairy-tale suggestions that home prices will collapse, that the TPA wants to ruin Lake Ontario, that the harbour will be closed to sailboats or commercial shipping, or that better utilization of Billy Bishop’s existing 202 commercial slots is going to ruin the way of life of the people who knowingly bought a condo near the airport,” Mr. McQueen said. “You heard that 10 years ago, and doomsday never came.” Mr. McQueen said the port authority supports the current noise restrictions, will not change an overnight ban on flights, and dismissed “rumoured desires” of WestJet to bring their planes to Billy Bishop as “wishful thinking,” at best. He argued that the question for the city is not whether it wants to extend the runway, but by how much, since Transport Canada is expected to require all major Canadian airports to extend “runway end safety areas” by at least 50 metres. If approved by city council, Mr. McQueen said the TPA would take a “do no harm” approach to evaluating the proposal from its end: it cannot have any negative impact on air and water quality, it cannot make the surrounding area any less “liveable” or impede sailors, and it must make business sense for the TPA, since it would pay for the runway extension by charging its passengers. Afterwards, Anshul Kapoor, chair of No Jets TO, maintained the proposal does not make sense, and will harm Toronto’s waterfront. He accused Mr. McQueen of “hiding behind a veil” of not supporting Porter plans, all the while taking stabs at the opposition. “That to me sounds like they are supporting Porter plans but they’re not coming out and saying it,” said Mr. Kapoor. Mr. Deluce didn’t see it that way, saying instead he was “encouraged” by the port authority’s willingness to review the proposal. He believes city officials will have all the information required to make a decision by the end of 2013, although noise certification by Transport Canada will not be complete until next year. Mr. Deluce said that the purchase agreement with Bombardier “guarantees” it will supply a plane that meets the restrictions of the tripartite agreement. Source: National Post article
Resident Emphasizes Large Parts of City Will be Affected by Jet Noise: Airport Boosters do Flyby on Noise Levels October 18, 2013 TORONTO -Many of your letter-writers think the introduction of jets to Billy Bishop Airport (NOW, October 3-9) is an issue that only affects the waterfront. They could not be more wrong. Question 7 in the City Of Toronto Survey On Billy Bishop Airport states that “At certain times, such as during flyover, the new jets may be louder than the current turboprop planes used at the airport.” How much louder? Flyover sound levels are the ones that will affect the majority of Torontonians as the planes cross the city on their way to the airport. I live in the west end of Toronto at Runnymede and Bloor. I can watch Porter air traffic from my back yard. There are no sound levels available for the proposed CS-100 jet. Of the seven jets cited as similar to the CS-100, flyover levels range from 81.3 to 95 decibels. This is well in excess of the turboprops in current use. Decibels are a logarithmic measure; every increase of 3 decibels signifies a doubling of sound pressure. At the current rate of 16 flights an hour, most of Toronto can expect much higher flyover noise levels every four minutes between 6:45 am and 11 pm. Adam Wadon Toronto Source: NOW Magazine letters to the editor
Columnist Chris Moise Endorses NoJetsTO in The Bulletin Opinion Piece October 18, 2013 TORONTO - The Billy Bishop Airport, formerly known as the Port George VI Island Airport—and unofficially known as the Toronto Island airport—has been part of the Toronto landscape since 1939. It was built around the same time as the Malton airport, which we now call Pearson International Airport. The Island airport was always one of the busiest airports in Ontario. With Porter’s arrival in 2003 as a regional airline carrier, the airport passenger traffic increased significantly. For the last 10 years the residents of the Downtown core and the Island have remained rather quiet in regards to the changes that have taken place at the Island airport. Of course, people in the area have always grumbled about air and noise pollution. The number of flights in and out of the airport was also a concern. But nothing substantial ever materialized from these grumblings until a few years ago. The community rallied together when the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) proposed a bridge to the Island airport. It was believed that a bridge would mean a busier airport, that it would result in a larger environmental footprint, and that it was bad for the area in general. In 2010, the Toronto District School Board Trustee for the area, Chris Bolton, led an initiative to study the situation. It was determined that during an 8-hour period approximately 4000 taxis passed through the intersection of Bathurst and Queens Quay—the foot of the Island ferry dock. Eventually, the TPA proposed a pedestrian underground tunnel to the Island airport. The Island residents and those who live along the waterfront agreed this would be a more appropriate plan for the area. It seems, however, that when one battle ends, another ensues. Porter Airlines has since proposed to use Bombardier CS100 jets at the airport. This proposal means that larger jets would be used at the Island airport for the first time. The community has come together again, even more determined than ever, and formed a group called “NOJetsTO.” This coalition is concerned about the noise level that these jets may bring. They are also concerned about the amount of pollution that these jets will discharge upon landing and take-off. This past May, Toronto city council voted in favour, 29-15, to study Porter’s proposal to bring jets to the Island airport. If the proposal for the jets is approved, then the Island airport runway would have to be increased by 168 metres at each end. Approval would also make Porter the third largest airline in the country. Island and waterfront residents share similar concerns. Parents of children at the Island and waterfront schools have voiced concerns about their children’s long-term exposure to the noise and pollution of the jets. Several yacht clubs have said they may not be able to use the harbour as they now do. And this is just a fraction of concerns that have been raised. I, along with many other residents who live in the core of the city, are certainly puzzled as to why Toronto needs such a radical project like the Island airport expansion when the Ontario government—through Metrolinx—is building a multimillion-dollar rapid-express train from Union station to Pearson Airport. This project is to be completed in the next few years. With this in mind, whose interests are being served by an Island airport expansion? I am of the opinion that if Porter and others want to grow their fleets, then they need to speak to, and co-ordinate with, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA). The expansion of their business should happen at Pearson. The people of Toronto have made more than enough concessions for the sake of large corporations’ profits. The city’s waterfront has been divided and carved up to the point that local residents have little to no access to a great part of it. When will this city become a leader like Vancouver and other coastal cities in Canada and around the world? On Sept. 19, a town hall meeting was held at which both proponents and opponents spoke. Many, if not most, of those who spoke in support of the airline were employees who were bused in by the company. The opponents were residents of the Islands and those who live in the near vicinity on the shore. It was argued that many of the reports about the new jets have not been made public. For example, the noise and pollution output questions have not been publicized. City council is expected to make a decision on this expansion. However, the TPA and Transport Canada have not yet commented upon or made any decisions about the expansion. Indeed, city council’s decision may not even matter. Winning the battle will hinge upon gathering public support. It is apparent to me that this issue is really only just starting. It is far from over and I, for one, will stand with the area residents—being one of them—and say “NOjetsTO.” May those who represent us hear our pleas and, for a change, accept the will of the people. Source: The Bulletin October edition
Local News Outlet Speaks out Against Jets with Article October 10, 2013 TORONTO - The campaign to stop the introduction of jets into Island (Billy Bishop) Airport is now available to citizens at the No Jets TO website where a petition is gathering names.
//www.youtube.com/embed/nU1JfBR8GR8?feature=player_detailpage[Above] is a video made by opponent Richard St. John. [Below], is a report from Citytv on the community meeting two nights ago.
//www.youtube.com/embed/9AHMc0TEs2Y?feature=player_detailpageThe opposition extends from the impact of the jets, and the next generation of jets, on the unique recreational activities enjoyed by Torontonians on the islands. It extends as well to all corners of the South Bayview group of neighborhoods where aircraft noise has increased noticeably since Porter Airlines started flying. Porter aircraft heading to Montreal or Ottawa have a very high incidence of flight over this area. The grinding noise of these planes is frequently heard well after midnight over Bennington Heights, Moore Park, Leaside and northwards. A sense of life with a downtown runway can be gained by looking at the San Diego's Lindburgh Field where, over the years, the number of planes coming and going has grown to more than 600 planes a day. That's San Diego' downtown below. Sign the petition. Source: South Bayview Bulldog article
Reuters via Toronto Star: Two New Studies Shed Light on Health Effects of Aviation Noise October 9, 2013 LONDON — Exposure to high levels of aircraft noise near busy international airports has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and strokes in two separate studies from Britain and the United States.
Researchers in London studied noise and hospital admissions around London Heathrow Airport, while a separate team analyzed data on six million Americans living near 89 U.S. airports.
Both studies, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on Wednesday, found that people living with the highest levels of aircraft noise had increased risks of stroke, coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
In the Heathrow study, the risks were around 10 to 20 per cent higher in areas with highest levels of aircraft noise, compared with the areas with least noise. Stephen Stansfeld, a professor at Queen Mary University of London who was not part of either research team but provided a commentary on their findings, said the results suggested that “aircraft noise exposure is not just a cause of annoyance, sleep disturbance, and reduced quality of life” but may also increase sickness and death from heart disease.
City and town planners “need to take this into account when extending airports in heavily populated areas or planning new airports,” he said.
Other experts said the studies raised important issues about aircraft noise and health but did not establish a causal link.
“Both of these studies are thorough and well conducted. But, even taken together, they don’t prove that aircraft noise actually causes heart disease and strokes,” said Kevin McConway, a professor of applied statistics at Britain’s Open University.
The British research team set out to investigate the risks of stroke and heart disease in relation to aircraft noise among 3.6 million people living near Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world.
They compared hospital admissions and death rates due to stroke and heart disease from 2001 to 2005 in 12 areas of London and nine further districts to the west of London.
Levels of aircraft noise for each area were obtained from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and factors that could have affected the results, such as age, sex, ethnicity, social deprivation, smoking, air pollution and road traffic noise were also taken into account.
Their results showed increased risks of stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease — especially among the 2 per cent of the study population exposed to the highest levels of daytime and night time aircraft noise.
“The exact role that noise exposure may play in ill health is not well established,” said Anna Hansell of Imperial College London, who led the British study. “However, it is plausible that it might be contributing, for example by raising blood pressure or by disturbing people’s sleep.”
The researchers noted that discussions on possible expansion plans for London’s airport capacity have been on and off the table for many decades, with demand for air travel expected to double in Britain to 300 million passengers per year by 2030.
In a second study also published in the BMJ, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health looked at data for more than six million Americans aged 65 or over living near 89 U.S. airports in 2009.
The research — the first to analyze a very large population across numerous airports — found that, on average, zip codes with 10-decibel (dB) higher aircraft noise had a cardiovascular hospital admission rate that was 3.5 per cent higher.
The results showed that people exposed to the highest noise levels — more than 55 dB — had the strongest link with hospitalizations for heart disease, and the link also remained after adjustment for socioeconomic status, demographic factors, air pollution, and proximity to roads.
Conway said that because of the kind of data used, the studies could only “suggest very strongly that we should find out much more about aircraft noise and circulatory disease.” Source: Toronto Star article
Letter to Beach Metro Community News: Beachers Should be Concerned about Potential Island Jets October 8, 2013 TORONTO - I have been invited to represent Ward 32 at the Health Impact Assessment Workshop on the proposal to consider adding jets and paving in parts of the lake at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Golder Associates Ltd. will be leading this study. In order to prepare for this, I have been researching the air quality in our area and it is in a very sad state. A public health study of wards 30 and 32 in 2011 shows that we were already over in dangerous emissions levels of such toxic chemicals as NOx. These contribute to risks of asthma and cancer. The East End has a high asthma rate. Those levels would be higher now that the Portlands Energy Centre power plant is fully operational this year. Regardless of how “clean” new jet models may be, adding jet fuel over our neighbourhood will only add to the toxic mix. Most people in our area seem to be against the proposal to add jets, but there are people who are for it and there are people who are waiting to decide after seeing the study. Yet it turns out that Golder Associates Ltd. is a development company. On one of their sites, they say they use their evaluations when encountering local resistance or concerns to “help the public say yes.” That sounds to me that it is about getting the job done and not deciding if it’s in the best interest of the community. I will do the best I can to present the interests of our area, but up until now, it seems that the Mayor and his executive council have already made up their minds and so are pushing the agenda accordingly without proper assessment. It took two years to get a speed bump on our street, but the waterfront could be changed permanently with a rushed, biased study over several months. Please make your concerns heard by emailing Mayor Rob Ford at email@example.com or sign the petition to stop jets over the Beach atnojetsto.ca/take-action. Gwen Fogel Source: Beach Metro Community News
Aviation News Portal Reports on CommunityAIR Letter to US Government September 26, 2013 WASHINGTON - A Toronto-based nonprofit group is asking the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider whether a request by Porter Airlines to fly Bombardier CS100 jets into Billy Bishop Toronto Cityairport threatens to violate the US-Canada open skies agreement. In a letter to the DOT, community organisation CommunityAIR, which opposes expanded air traffic at the airport, says the agency should take the open skies agreement into account when deciding whether to renew Porter’s authority to operate flights between Canada and the USA. Porter, which has a conditional agreement with Bombardier to purchase 12 CS100s, recently requested that the city of Toronto, Transport Canada and the Toronto Port Authority issue an exemption to allow it to operate the CSeries at Billy Bishop. Commercial jets are banned at Billy Bishop, but Porter argues the CS100 will meet the airport’s strict noise requirements. Porter is scheduled to begin taking delivery of the aircraft in 2016, but its deal with Bombardier is conditioned upon the aircraft being certified to operate at Billy Bishop. CommunityAIR, however, says an exemption would violate provisions of the US-Canada open skies agreement that prohibits either country from limiting the type of aircraft flown by airlines of either country. “[Porter is] saying they want the right only to fly the CS100. If that’s the only jet permitted to fly... it excludes every other airlines,” CommunityAir chair Brian Iler tells Flightglobal. Republic Airways, which has and order for 40 CS300 aircraft, is the only US carrier with an order for the model. “CommunityAIR believes a current initiative under way by Porter Airlines should have material effect on the current outstanding application of the airline for a foreign carrier permit” from the DOT, the group says in its letter. Porter has also unveiled a number of plans for runway extensions at Billy Bishop that are needed to accommodate the jet aircraft. The city of Toronto has said it will study whether other new jets like the Embraer E2, Boeing 737 Max, Airbus A320neo or Mitsubishi MRJ70 and MRJ90 models will meet Billy Bishop’s noise requirements. CommunityAIR advocates a cleaner, less-industrial waterfront in Toronto and seeks to return airport land to public use, according to its website. Source: Flightglobal article (behind paywall)
Columnist Chris Hume: Porter Airlines' Plans to Expand Island Airport Put School and Community Centre at Risk of Demolition September 25, 2013 TORONTO - The main lesson the kids at the Waterfront School are learning these days is that they are not wanted. So much so that some have proposed the school — and the Harbourfront Community Centre that shares the building — be torn down to make way for a parking garage. The building, on the southeast corner of Bathurst and Queens Quay, is in the way of passengers heading to the Billy Bishop Toronto Island Airport. That’s where Porter Airlines has operated for years. It’s also the facility Porter wants to expand so it can fly passenger jets from the now undersized runway. So far, Porter and its many allies have managed to frame the debate in terms of noise. Their new aircraft, they assure us, are so quiet they “whisper.” That’s the least of our problems. What Porter and its loudest shill, the federal Toronto Port Authority, don’t want us to know about are the jet fuel storage tanks that would come with an enlarged airport, the enhanced food service operations, the increased traffic, the stream of taxis, the flight path expansion and, of course, the safety and health of students at Waterfront School. As long as the jets are quiet, they expect Torontonians will be, too. “My concern is the safety of students,” says Toronto District School Board chair Chris Bolton. “There have been health issues; we’ve been testing air quality down there and most of the pollution isn’t from planes but vehicular traffic. The school has become an island surrounded by traffic; crossing the street is dangerous. “Our problem is that the situation in regard to the airport and the community has got to an untenable place. Traffic is the major concern. I’m not sure where the proposal is, but there are a myriad of proposals. I sure don’t want to take the school out of the neighbourhood. We have a long-term agreement with the city and we didn’t enter into it with the idea we’d have to leave it so soon.” The school, which has won architectural awards, opened in 1997. It serves the growing midrise and highrise community around Norway Park and beyond. “The airport is not my issue,” Bolton insists. “My issue is making sure kids are safe getting to and from school. We’ve asked the city for a lay-by so parents can drop their kids off. We’ve also asked the police for a crossing guard.” “It just gets crazier and crazier,” says local councillor Adam Vaughan, making no effort to hide his frustration. “The intersection is a bloody mess. The problem is that an airport and school zone don’t mix. The Tripartite Agreement balances interests.” The agreement to which Vaughan refers, signed by the Toronto Harbour Commission (now port authority), the city and Ottawa, dates back to 1983. It restricts use of the airport and the aircraft that fly in and out of it. “There’s no need to expand the airport,” Vaughan argues. “If it was up to me, I’d close it tomorrow. The do-nothing option is the best for all the players.” It’s no surprise, then, that Porter and its allies, most vocally the port authority, are lobbying so viciously to get jets into Billy Bishop Airport. Already, Porter has gained numerous concessions from public authorities, with precious little public input. The most notable example is the pedestrian tunnel now under construction. But that’s not enough. Just last week, Porter employees packed a public meeting, hoping to drown out anyone who might disagree with them. Toronto’s former chief planner, Paul Bedford, calls the proposal “insanity.” Whose interests would the expansion serve, he asks, public or private? Interestingly, no one is demanding the airport be closed; only that it abides by rules laid down decades ago. Christopher Hume can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Toronto Star article