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Jet traffic one step closer at the Toronto Island Airport

Posted by Chris Bateman / May 7, 2013

toronto porter skylineToronto's waterfront moved a step closer to hosting jet traffic this evening. City council have voted 29-15 in favour of studying the possible effects of new the new "whisper jets" Porter airlines wants to fly from downtown to destinations across the continent. The report will also look into expanding the runway at Billy Bishop to accommodate the larger planes.

Some councillors expressed concern the added noise and pollution from jet traffic wasn't worth even the cost of the report, which could be between $800,000 and $1 million. In an interesting turn of events, mayor Rob Ford, deputy mayor Doug Holyday, and coun. Doug Ford voted in favour of using sole-sourced contracts in the process of compiling the study, something they've previously criticized.

There was a heated moment when coun. Mike Del Grande appeared to get upset with waterfront residents who have expressed concern over the additional aircraft noise. "Is that any different to somebody buying a house by a school and saying 'I don't want to hear the recess bell anymore'? ... Don't buy a house by an airport," he said.

Del Grande also took aim at members of the public watching proceedings. "The bullies come into this chamber and they bully the councillors. Look at the [Porter employees] on the other side [of the room] - this is how we do it in Scarborough, we're all polite."

Porter airlines CEO Robert Deluce expects passengers at Toronto's downtown airport to significantly increase in the next few years. NOJetsTO, a group opposed to the expansion, has attracted signatures from author Margaret Atwood and former mayor John Sewell.

Do you think it's OK for Porter to fly jets out of the island airport? What restrictions should Toronto place on airport expansion, if any? Do you think Billy Bishop Airport is an asset or a threat to the Toronto Islands and waterfront?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: syncros/blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

77 Comments

Jason Martin / May 7, 2013 at 09:02 pm
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Competition for Pearson is a good thing.

Porter is a great little airline that does a good service to Toronto. Ive never heard anyone complain after flying Porter or using the island airport.

It's a lovely way to enter or leave the city. Something Toronto should be proud of!

It's an asset to the waterfront.

And, unless youve been living on the waterfront since 1934, you have no right to complain about the noise. The airport was there first. Besides, the Gardiner and streetcars are noiser.

As for pollution, most of the oil in Toronto Harbour comes from boats. Not airplanes.
Grumpy Cat / May 7, 2013 at 09:02 pm
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Good
Jamie / May 7, 2013 at 09:04 pm
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Real Estate is boasting "View of Island Airport" as a selling feature, welcome to the new Toronto. Go Porter!
Alexander / May 7, 2013 at 09:09 pm
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So, if I don't want to hear jets I should not buy a house near an airport that does not allow jets? I think Mike needs some help with logic. It's one thing to buy a house near a small school and complain, quite another to buy a house near a small school, have them quadruple it in size and then castigate me for complaining.

Em. / May 7, 2013 at 09:15 pm
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If you moved near a small school that multiplied in size and it bothered you, you could move, in much the same way that those who do not want to be affected by the noise of the Toronto Island Airport jets could also move away from the noise. The airport jets would benefit far more people than the noise would bother.
Sally / May 7, 2013 at 09:23 pm
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I love watching and listening to planes. I'd be happy to trade homes with anyone that doesn't.
v79 replying to a comment from Alexander / May 7, 2013 at 09:31 pm
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Alexander, if a school quadrupled in size, it would go without saying that the neighbourhood would have done the same, leading to more traffic, noise pollution, crime, etc. The school kids would be the least of one's worries. Besides, if the analogy were applicable to this case, then the kids would be quiet and unnoticeable, just like these requested jets, hence, not an issue. I have property directly across the road from an airport of similar size, and it doesn't interfere with my enjoyment of the surroundings at all. The trains passing by many kilometers away are far more of a nuisance noise wise,at all times of day too. Porter has been wonderful for the city, has a great reputation, and we should do all we can to support them in this endeavor if it means further growth and an even more useful alternative to flying through Pearson.
oph / May 7, 2013 at 09:52 pm
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Instead of the recess bell analogy, Del Grande should have used the people of Malton and Rexdale, those who live near Pearson, as his example. Just because you have watercraft parked at the marina, it doesn't mean you get special treatment from city council. The island-dwellers are the worst.
Uhhh / May 7, 2013 at 10:02 pm
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These jets are almost quieter than the current prop jets, does everyone just arrive to city council without reading basic provided literature?
Philipp Piskov / May 7, 2013 at 10:03 pm
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Like the casino issue that has contributed significant discussion over the years, the porter expansion is something that needs to be carefully reviewed. 500k is a small price to pay in exchange for appropriate conclusions as to the after-effects of the increase in air traffic so close to the downtown core. With that being said, I do feel as though the economical impact would be tremendous and would definitely overshadow the potential noise problematics. Im more then happy for a good discussion from other contributors.
John Labatt replying to a comment from Uhhh / May 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm
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almost as quiet is not aceptable, maybe we should move these jets to your neightborhood, Jets screaming by condo`s every 2 minutes would drive people crazy, stop this insanity and lets close up the airport instead of expanding it they have anoyed enuff people. No more airports, use that island for picnics and expand the nudie beach.
seanm / May 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm
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One thing to note regarding increased pollution from more jets, since some people flying from downtown may have had to travel to Pearson to reach Porter's proposed destinations, there may be some offset in car travel now. This is purely speculation, but I bet a lot of downtown-Pearson trips will be saved as a result of Porter's increased volume of destinations and flights.
Chris / May 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm
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Anyone who is fooled by the term "whisper quiet" is obviously moronic. A jet is a jet, its gonna be freaking loud and obnoxious.. Not a good addition to the downtown. NO JETS! Better yet, NO ISLAND AIRPORT!
Uhhh replying to a comment from John Labatt / May 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm
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Chill drama queen, if you bothered to read my post I said almost quietER. The decibals are very similar, but not every sound is the same - propellor high frequency noises are more irritating than low frequency fan noise from the new jets. So no need to build that blanket fort yet.
Uhhh replying to a comment from Chris / May 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm
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A phone is a phone! How are you going to leave the house with it! HOW CAN CORDS BE DAT LONG BRAH?
bloop / May 7, 2013 at 11:19 pm
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Gotta say.. Porter is deliciously fabulous airline and Air Canada needs some real competition. I'm kind of for it. Pearson blows and that $30 Air Rail Link won't help much.
hahaha replying to a comment from John Labatt / May 7, 2013 at 11:48 pm
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Lol well done
no jets / May 8, 2013 at 01:26 am
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BlogTO, you failed to mention that council also passed motions by Councillor Vaughan which agreed to maintain the current tripartite agreement -- an agreement which bans jets and runway expansion. To write a headline saying jets are one step closer when council simply voted to conduct a study, is either misleading or your writer does not comprehend all the facts. There's a long way to go before this is a done deal.
Khristopher / May 8, 2013 at 02:25 am
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I really would like to see this happen. I think it can only benefit the city. Personally, I'd rather see a noise decible level over a type of aircraft be the deciding factor.
Khristopher replying to a comment from no jets / May 8, 2013 at 02:26 am
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The fact that council approved the study is one less hurdle, and therefore one step closer of many steps. I fail to see where there is any misleading. At least to anyone who is smart enough to read, and keep up to date on things. This is not a news site.
Toby Buckets / May 8, 2013 at 06:12 am
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What's obnoxious is that the expansion plans are the very thing the original agreement with Porter was supposed to prevent. Porter promised no jets. Porter promised not to fill in the lake. Nothing their arguing now can be taken seriously. I suspect the port authority and Porter have been planning to convert the island into a Pearson's sister airport (similar to LaGuardia in NY). It seems to have been the plan all along.
Toby Buckets / May 8, 2013 at 06:13 am
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Also, if anyone's wondering why our waterfront is 25 years behind Chicago's, it's decisions like this. Suburban politicians still think downtown is the place you park your heavy industry and your theme park attractions.
Toby Buckets replying to a comment from bloop / May 8, 2013 at 07:05 am
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FWI. Flew to NY two weeks ago. West Jet out of Pearson was $30 cheaper.
Dave replying to a comment from Toby Buckets / May 8, 2013 at 07:13 am
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And do you know why Westjet was that inexpensive? Because they have competition from Porter.
Jay / May 8, 2013 at 07:44 am
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@ Chris - Hahaha! A jet is a jet. LOL Yeah, engineering will have no effect at all on efficiency or noise. You're an idiot.
bleepbloop replying to a comment from Toby Buckets / May 8, 2013 at 07:52 am
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$30 saved - please. That is half the taxi/limo fare to get to Pearson from downtown right now. Frankly, if you live anywhere near downtown, you made a bad choice.

There are good reasons why people of all sorts love the Porter experience. Time saved and frustration avoided more than makes up for that $30 in most people's books I'm afraid.
Todd / May 8, 2013 at 09:21 am
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Good. This needs to happen.

Progression towards an actual world class city - 1
NIMBYs who already think we're there - 0
E. Toby Coke / May 8, 2013 at 09:53 am
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Here Come the Warm Jets
margare replying to a comment from Todd / May 8, 2013 at 10:06 am
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Ahahahaha - "world class city" is the dead-giveaway cliche for every bad idea that someone wants to build here. Let me know when they build an airport near Pont Neuf on the Seine and then we'll talk.
Todd replying to a comment from margare / May 8, 2013 at 10:42 am
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Paris is OLD. Toronto was a blank slate 200 years ago. You know this. Don't be intellectually dishonest.

Do you want me to embarrass you by providing a list of major cities in North America that have busy waterfront airports?

It's not essentially about a "world class" thing, but it is one think that brings Toronto closer to that distinction and actually earning it.

It sure is a great first image of the city when visitors arrive in the suburbs and spend $50 flat rate driving through heavy traffic or 90 minutes on a cramped, shitty bus, transferring several times to get to their final destination.
Todd / May 8, 2013 at 10:44 am
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How many opponents of the Porter expansion have actually used the service?

A scant few, I'd imagine. Anyone else notices that for a core resident, Billy Bishop is much, much better alternative than Pearson for regional flights. I would love this to be expanded.
Qaf / May 8, 2013 at 11:14 am
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If the jets are roughly equivalent in noise levels to the planes currently flying out of Porter now, I don't think it's an issue. My bigger concern would be the effects of potential increased air traffic on the waterfront. Would there be more planes flying in and out, and would it degrade the atmosphere along the lake? That area is a huge asset to Toronto.

I'm not sure more planes would affect anything, but it would be especially disapointing to see that happen after the Queens Quay revitalization project that's been going on.
kn / May 8, 2013 at 11:47 am
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this is all rather interesting. the city is rebuilding a ghetto in Atkinson coop, million dollar town homes for the poor, and all and they have hardly spent a dime on researching that billion dollar project.
Nick replying to a comment from Toby Buckets / May 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm
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WestJet thinks it can fly 737s out of Billy Bishop, so it will be a win-win with the expansion! [sarcasm]
JoJo / May 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm
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I've always considered Toronto Islands the "cottage" (getaway) I could never afford. The islands are a beautiful natural resource for everyone to enjoy; why should private interests pave over and ruin that? I know why this freakin' airport wasn't put at Downsview, where runways, terminals and a subway stop already exist: because Bay Street wouldn't be caught dead on the subway. They could've had a shuttle from Downsview subway to the terminal...why doesn't Porter move there? As for the noise and potential increase of it...many residents lived there way before Porter.
Paul replying to a comment from JoJo / May 8, 2013 at 01:31 pm
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And the airport was there before many residents
Charles Marker / May 8, 2013 at 01:58 pm
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I read in NOW that, if the runway were expanded for jets, the north/south runway would also have to be extended since it would need to serve as the emergency back-up. Maybe this is not true. Maybe in an emergency the jets would have to go elsewhere. If it is true, this needs to be clearly understood before the fact, not after the fact.
no jets replying to a comment from Khristopher / May 8, 2013 at 02:42 pm
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If this is not a news site, then why are they reporting on this story? It's a news story. If they're going to report news, then they should report the full story-- not just the angle they want or the bare minimum. But I guess that's all it takes to get the commenters frothing at the mouth, and that's really all BlogTO is good (bad) for these days.



Elle Em / May 8, 2013 at 02:43 pm
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As our city grows, we need to expand the infrastructure to get people around.

Porter on the Island is definitely an asset!
Stanley / May 8, 2013 at 02:58 pm
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Since Porter has been at Billy Bishop I've visited the island on many occasions and have not even noticed the planes once. They provide a service to everyone downtown that do not want to make the annoying as hell trip up to Pearson. Maybe if Mel Lastman had build his stupid Sheppard Subway heading in the right direction (ie. West towards Pearson) we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Idiot replying to a comment from no jets / May 8, 2013 at 03:09 pm
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Guess you can't comprehend the concept of a BLOG.
Moron
Idiot replying to a comment from no jets / May 8, 2013 at 03:10 pm
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In addition to my last post, if you're so unhappy with BlogTO and it's comments. Why are you even here?
margarets replying to a comment from Todd / May 8, 2013 at 04:17 pm
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Sure, give me a list of major North American cities with busy waterfront airports. But how many of them are "world class"? While you're at it, also give me a list of the cities that you consider "world class" and some evidence that Torontonians care about being one.
Dan replying to a comment from Toby Buckets / May 8, 2013 at 04:27 pm
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So when you flew out of Pearson with Westjet, did you not feel guilty for polluting the air of those living in Malton Village and those living around Centennial Park? Or do they not count as people as they live in the suburbs?
Todd replying to a comment from margarets / May 8, 2013 at 05:28 pm
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- Sure, give me a list of major North American cities with busy waterfront airports.

You obviously know about it. There's Google for that. Do your homework, professor.

- But how many of them are "world class"?

A few of them, but as I mentioned, a waterfront airport does not make one "world class", but efficiency is a central component when you don't have hundreds of years of history to attract. Toronto's never getting the history... but they can build an airport that's not fifty fucking kilometers away, reaching capacity, instead shooting you directly into the downtown core. That's good. That's progressive, and dare I say it, "world class".

- While you're at it, also give me a list of the cities that you consider "world class"

Pretty much every major city, particularly the larger ones, in first world countries as referenced in those stupid lists.

- and some evidence that Torontonians care about being one.

You must be new here. A little thing called observation and not being a fucking transplant.

no jets is a total bozo replying to a comment from no jets / May 8, 2013 at 06:46 pm
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I think he thinks this site is call newsTO.com


(idiot)
margarets replying to a comment from Todd / May 8, 2013 at 07:26 pm
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So, you can't really back up your statements with actual evidence.

And "every major city" in every first world country is "world class"? Dallas is on par with London? Calgary is just as worldly as Amsterdam? Huh.
Todd...outclassed by a girl, yet again. replying to a comment from Todd / May 8, 2013 at 09:12 pm
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How's your mother's basement working out for you, loser?

At least your spelling's getting better, so there's that...
Todd...outclassed by a girl, yet again. replying to a comment from Todd / May 8, 2013 at 09:14 pm
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"You must be new here. A little thing called observation and not being a fucking transplant"


Racist zenophobe much?
poor todd replying to a comment from Todd / May 8, 2013 at 09:46 pm
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- Sure, give me a list of major North American cities with busy waterfront airports.

>>You obviously know about it. There's Google for that. Do your homework, professor.


Nice comeback, Todd. Essentially, she says: You've been caught with your pants down in your bedroom and your fist in your butt, but your only response is to say: "whatevs...this isn't how it looks. Besides, don't you know you'll need a PHOTO to prove it--GOD...you're so STUPID".

The kicker being you not accepting the fact someone is standing in your doorway watching you desperately attempt palm your own prostate.

Better take five to pull up your pants/regroup, Todd.
John Labatt replying to a comment from Uhhh / May 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm
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Could we both agree to expand the nudie beach. Do you realy you like jets? or Propellers? thats the real issue.
Dave / May 9, 2013 at 09:16 am
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Boston has a huge waterfront airport. Is Boston not world class?
Todd replying to a comment from Todd...outclassed by a girl, yet again. / May 9, 2013 at 09:54 am
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Outclassed how?

I've done my research. That other person hasn't and is simply trolling because I mentioned "world class" in an earlier post.

That person is the only one comparing Toronto to Paris or Amsterdam or London. Getting around Toronto and getting out of Toronto sucks. An expanded island airport is a "world class" solution to this problem.

Todd replying to a comment from Todd...outclassed by a girl, yet again. / May 9, 2013 at 09:55 am
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LOLOLOL

Trite comeback, much?
Sand in vagina, much?

So original.
Todd replying to a comment from Dave / May 9, 2013 at 09:57 am
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No use in applying logic to this crowd, Dave.

These people haven't been on an airplane in years. They have no idea that other major cities have waterfront airports with easy connections to downtown. Maybe they'll get to experience the ease of traveling into major destinations with core airports once they get fucking jobs.
Alex / May 9, 2013 at 11:25 am
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$800000 to do research? How is this that expensive? Who are they hiring? How many years will this take? I don't get how all these reports are so expensive. Seems like a lot of consultants will be expensing their starbucks to us on this one.

So long as the jets aren't ridiculously loud they should let them expand. The island airport is a great boon to the city and we should definitely be encouraging its expansion. If you live in a city there will be noise, that's a given. Whether its traffic, jets, sirens, construction, etc. it's just something you accept for the convenience of living downtown.
margare replying to a comment from Todd / May 9, 2013 at 11:32 am
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"That person is the only one comparing Toronto to Paris or Amsterdam or London. Getting around Toronto and getting out of Toronto sucks. An expanded island airport is a "world class" solution to this problem."

But Paris, Amsterdam and London ARE world class cities, and none of them have an airport in their downtown or waterfront areas. And you haven't named a single world class city that DOES have such an airport. And who says Toronto cares about being world class anyway (whatever that even means)? There are lots of "second" cities that are great places to live and visit. So your argument doesn't hold.

And if your main concern is greater ease in getting to and from Pearson... no one will argue with you about that, but expanding the island airport is far from the only or best solution.

I was just in Schipol airport about a month ago, and it really is a great airport. Notice that it's well outside Amsterdam but VERY well connected by train to Ams and other Dutch cities. THAT is the kind of thing we need for the GTA, not just one link from Pearson to Union Station.

the lemur replying to a comment from margare / May 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm
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London does have a waterfront airport: London City Airport, built in the eastern docklands.
Dave / May 9, 2013 at 01:31 pm
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Although Charles De Gaulle is not downtown, Paris does have both Le Bourget Airport and Orly Airport. Both are located closer to downtown than CDG and both are located next to residential neighbourhoods. Same thing with Chicago Midway. Closer to downtown than O'Hare and it's located smack-dab in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. London City Airport is right downtown on the water. Boston airport is right downtown on the waterfront.
margarets replying to a comment from the lemur / May 9, 2013 at 02:30 pm
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The tiny one that is ELEVEN kilometres from the City and not really on the Thames? Not really the same thing as allowing jets right on the Toronto lakefront is it?

@Dave, all you've proven is that Paris has some other, smaller airports. Big whoop. So does the GTA. Why not expand those and leave the lakefront out of it? As for Boston and Chicago, not really world class, are they? And heaven help us if we're going to model ourselves after US cities.
Dave / May 9, 2013 at 03:06 pm
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That tiny little airport in London handles over 2.5 million passengers a year. I've flown in and out of it and it is very much downtown. Right beside Canary Wharf.

All these points are moot. A downtown airport is not what will make Toronto world class. It is, though, a great asset to a city. The waterfront is perfectly enjoyable even with planes going in and out of the airport.
the lemur replying to a comment from margarets / May 9, 2013 at 03:34 pm
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Yes, it's 11 km from the City-with-a-C, but still very much within London, near residential areas and, because it's well linked by public transit, easy to get to from central London. A damn sight closer than Heathrow, at least.

And no, it's not right on the Thames - it's in an inlet maybe half a mile from the north bank of the Thames, and planes still fly over the Thames to get to it.
margarets replying to a comment from Dave / May 9, 2013 at 05:59 pm
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But will it be enjoyable with more planes, bigger & louder ones? That's the issue.

I flew in & out of Reykjavik's city airport (not Keflavik, the other one) last year. It's very central, but people living in Reykjavik HATE it because of the noise, etc. Why would we want that for our waterfront?
margarets replying to a comment from the lemur / May 9, 2013 at 06:01 pm
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OK, so some people find that airport convenient. It's still small and far away (roughly the same distance from the City as Downsview airport is from the foot of Bay St). How is it relevant to Billy Bishop airport?
Todd...outclassed by a girl, yet again replying to a comment from Todd / May 9, 2013 at 09:04 pm
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Uh, Todd...I'm a DUDE. You can tell by looking straight up, just above your eyebrows.

See my balls there resting on your forehead? Yep..that's my junk. VISUAL proof I'm a dude.

I'm tea-bagging you, bitch. Again.

Just wish you didn't love it so much. Creeps me out.
the lemur replying to a comment from margarets / May 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm
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It's relevant because it's still close enough to serve central London, big enough to handle jets, serves dozens of destinations thereby relieving pressure on Heathrow and Gatwick and convenient to many, many people. Even allowing for the much greater density of London, London City Airport to the City (Bank station, let's say) is still only about 10 km, whereas Downsview to the foot of Bay is 18 km or so.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from seanm / May 10, 2013 at 04:50 am
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Actually, you're wrong; there will be more car (taxis) pulling into the airport grounds, making a big racket that as loud as the planes themselves (in fact, they're doing that already.)
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Todd / May 10, 2013 at 04:54 am
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How the fuck do you know that they don't have jobs? And what business is it of yours, anyway?

People like you need to read up on being engaged with the world on issues, because it seems that you aren't, and are just blasting those that are.
E. Toby Coke replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / May 10, 2013 at 06:25 am
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Taxis are "making a big racket that (sic) as loud as the planes themselves"?

Have you been taking courses at the Rob Ford School of Hyperbole? Furthermore, what's wrong with taxis?
margarets replying to a comment from the lemur / May 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm
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I checked the distances of London City Airport to the City and Downsview Airport to the foot of Bay St. They ARE about the same. BTW, density is irrelevant to distance.

Anyway, if Toronto needs to "relieve pressure" on Pearson (which I haven't heard is the justification for expanding Billy Bishop, it's because Porter wants to expand to make more money), there are other ways of doing so. E.g. expand the airports in Hamilton or Oshawa. (Not everyone who flies into Toronto needs or wants to go anywhere downtown.)

Ever notice how living near an airport isn't generally considered a great thing and whenever one expands, local people protest? It's because airports really aren't that great. So why make our waterfront airport any busier?
Aaron / May 14, 2013 at 03:45 pm
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Oh my, another World Class discussion! Similar to the ones they must have in all the other World Class cities lol
michael replying to a comment from Todd / July 31, 2013 at 02:11 pm
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drink up you fool
michael replying to a comment from Todd / July 31, 2013 at 02:12 pm
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only afool suports a airport in their drinking water
bryan marshall replying to a comment from Jason Martin / September 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm
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The gardener is not noisier than a second Pearson airport. You never see people wearing hearing protection around vehicles like you do around aircraft. When you travel abroad to a beach resort it is never right next to a jet airport. THe beach adjacent to Kingston airport in Jamaica is not usable for tourists.
the lemur replying to a comment from margarets / September 5, 2013 at 01:34 pm
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You checked? Really? What point in London are you using to measure the distance to there from the city airport?

Foot of Bay to Downsview airport (via Avenue and the Allen): 16.6 km

London City Airport to City of London (taken as being Cannon St station): 7.7 km

If it really were the same distance as Bay to Downsview, if you travelled that far west from the airport (in the direction of central London), you'd overshoot the centre and end up in Richmond.

It could be that you're wildly underestimating the distance to Downsview, or you have a strange idea of where London is and how big it is, whether by 'City' you mean the City of London itself, its centre or 'the City' as in the financial district.
the lemur replying to a comment from bryan marshall / September 5, 2013 at 01:35 pm
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The beach under the flight path in St Maarten, however, is totally usable.
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