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City

Island airport expansion takes a big step forward

Posted by Chris Bateman / March 26, 2014

toronto island airportFollowing a marathon 12-hour meeting, the city's executive committee has voted 11-1 to press ahead with plans to expand the Island airport, paving the way for a potential showdown at city council early next month.

Provided it can get the backing of council, the decision would allow the city to begin re-negotiating the tripartite agreement between it, the Toronto Port Authority, and Transport Canada that currently bans all passenger jet aircraft from using Billy Bishop Airport.

More than 190 people spoke on both sides of the debate, including Porter CEO Robert Deluce and several of the airline's employees. Opponents of the plan are worried about increased noise, pollution, and traffic congestion.

The report by city staff that the executive committee adopted this evening recommends placing a cap on the number of flights and passengers at the airport before allowing Porter Airlines to fly Bombardier CSeries jets from downtown. It also advised the executive committee to defer their decision until next March, pending more information about the planes and the infrastructure they require from Transport Canada.

In order to operate the airplanes, the runway would need to be expanded by 200 metres at both ends and marine exclusion zones (MEZs,) areas where boats are not allowed to enter, will need to be widened.

Porter has said it hopes to offer trips to destinations further afield as early as 2016.

A motion by Mayor Rob Ford to offer conditional approval to Porter Airlines failed 8-4. Deputy City Manager John Livey said would be "a very big mistake" if the city said yes without all the facts.

A motion by Cllr. Shiner to negotiate restricting jets to 25 per cent of total Island airport flights passed 7-5.

The debate will now proceed to city council for final approval next week. If it passes, and that's still a big if at this stage, it would allow city staff to begin negotiating terms with Porter Airlines, but not before the end of this term of council.

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

Image: Frank Lemire/blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

85 Comments

Aaron / March 26, 2014 at 06:29 am
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Great!
Eye haw / March 26, 2014 at 07:17 am
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Can't happen soon enough!

Let's go Jets!!
Theo / March 26, 2014 at 07:23 am
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I am not really sure why this is an issue at all? Why are people so adamant about protecting the waterfront in one of the most developed cities in the world? Especially when this will have an arbitrary effect on it.
iSkyscraper / March 26, 2014 at 07:56 am
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Looks like there were some adults in the room who understood both the value the island aiport provides to the city, the smart way Porter has run it and the need to have a multi-use waterfront where nothing is out of scale.

YTZ is great, Porter is great, but that doesn't mean the waterfront should be converted to a dedicated taxi stand and fuel depot while planes roar nonstop overhead. There is a way to balance things out (similar to City Airport in the London Docklands) but this will take time and a slow, reasoned approach.

The important thing is that the impulsive low-IQ-mayor-who-should-never-be-let-anywhere-near-transportation-planning-of-any-kind was defeated. Hope a similar result happens with the Gardiner, future subway and future LRT lines. Please, people, try not to Vote for Stupid next time.
fred / March 26, 2014 at 08:25 am
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if you are a toronto resident you should be concerned we are simply giving this to porter. what are they paying toronto for this privilege? Zero. nothing. Do you think its worth something...better still do you think Deluce does? he is getting it for zero people
Scarborough has a long straight shoreline / March 26, 2014 at 08:27 am
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Why not just build a jet runway there?

It's close to downtown on the GO, not many people would be affected because it's only single homes (not hundreds of highrise buildings), and Scarborough could use the extra flow of people to generate more money and create more of an infrastructure on the waterfront.
Varley / March 26, 2014 at 08:47 am
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Sure, let's just commit to this and sort out the details later like how loud these "whisperjets" really are, and how big the runway is really going to be (not to mention a frigging exclusion zone that will reach halfway to Cherry Beach), and how are we going to handle all these passengers that we can't even handle today.

Here's a thought: let's wait until we have all the info and make a measured decision based on facts. There is nothing to be gained by reducing the City's leverage on this item today.
CW / March 26, 2014 at 08:48 am
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We should look at what the airport is willing to pony up for infrastructure needed to handle the increased car and transit to the airport.

There was talk of extending the city side out into the lake as well as adding a streetcar loop.
Right replying to a comment from Varley / March 26, 2014 at 09:22 am
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Hey genius...
The C-series test footage is available for ANYONE to view online.

http://bit.ly/1gBDaJz

Would you look at that, the CROWD is overpowering the sound of the jet engine, that you CANT EVEN HEAR AT FULL THROTTLE.

For comparasion, here's a CRJ-200:
http://bit.ly/1juteDB

So tell me, why are you NIMBYS still crying? Oh yeah, because you have nothing better to do!
greg / March 26, 2014 at 09:29 am
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Really terrible for the city's residents. The Turbo-props are bad enough.

Greed always wins over quality of life I guess.
Katherine / March 26, 2014 at 09:31 am
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Expansion of Toronto Island Airport means more air and water pollution in the form of carcinogens and noise. Black soot from the jet engines enters the water as fallout while runoff from de-icing fluids threatens aquatic life and water quality. This is all in addition to the health hazards to humans, pets, wildlife, and fish; air and water pollution; noise pollution; and constant light impairment of the night sky.
The Union Pearson Express is being built to connect and move travellers between the downtown core and Pearson Airport - the only airport where jets should be: http://upexpress.com/en/information/information.aspx
Nick / March 26, 2014 at 09:45 am
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If Porter wants to tear up the no jets contract (which they agreed to and signed) 19 years before it is scheduled to expire then I say we kick them out and let them bid for the new, extended runways in the open market when they are built. Why should we finance their expansion? What exactly are they contributing to this expansion expense? Are they going to pay for the lost commercial activity due to this new gigantic exclusion zone? Or the drop in real estate value along the lake shore?As far as I can tell, no they are not. They are just going to reap the benefits of further, more expensive flights. How much is the city ponying up for this expansion that will benefit one company? Hundreds of millions. Is this not essentially a back-room deal for Porter? Sure Air Canada flies a handful of planes a day out of Billy Bishop but anyone who has been there knows it's 98% a Porter only airport. Would we build a new airport at Downsview for the exclusive use of one airline? No, of course not. So then why are we contemplating doing it at Billy Bishop?
lister / March 26, 2014 at 09:46 am
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Yay! Even with a rail link to Pearson the experience at Pearson is still terrible. I'd rather fly out with Porter for my North American destinations. I much prefer the experience with Porter.

Quite frankly there shouldn't be anyone living on the islands. Other than the marinas and the amusement park, the islands should be 100% park. But that's a different issue.
E. Toby Coke replying to a comment from Katherine / March 26, 2014 at 09:59 am
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"constant light impairment of the night sky."

Airports are usually among the darkest places in a city, but do carry on...
Tory / March 26, 2014 at 10:06 am
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It won't pass through city council.

This is non news and just the hype machine for the election.
Deb / March 26, 2014 at 10:08 am
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Bring on the 1000's of jobs at the airport. the City needs emplyment!
Theo / March 26, 2014 at 10:15 am
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I am a person very much concerned for the environment, but I don't personally see how this will substantially increase pollution in the lake? Pearson has the Humber on one side and Eotbicoke Creek/Credit River on the other. Any pollution in the form of soot is going to fall and be washed out to the lake eventually anyway. If Toronto is going to keep growing as a city, then it is going to have to take the good with the bad, and part of the bad might be an increase in air traffic, but complaining about the lakefront is the equivalent of NIMBY. What is worse is that the NIMBY-folk don't even understand what they don't want in their backyard.
anthony / March 26, 2014 at 10:25 am
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When Porter made their bid to take over the Toronto Island Airport, they specifically guaranteed no jets, they must have had their fingers crossed behind their backs. Now as much as I think this time they really really really mean what they say, I look at the past to get a hint of the future. It does not take many bad decisions to turn Toronto into Chicago, just enough to confuse the fools that think it's a good idea.
Tony / March 26, 2014 at 10:29 am
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Lake Ontario has a shoreline of 712 miles, a 400 meter extension is hardly going to ruin the shoreline.

We do need to be skeptical of porters plans, of City council and of the decisions and promises of those running for mayor, but I don't agree that it's going to ruin Lake Ontario, downtown Toronto, or the city's waterfront.
Doug / March 26, 2014 at 10:33 am
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The real gravy at City Hall is this constantly revisiting topics like the Island Airport and the tri-partite agreement. How much tax dollars do we waste having late night meetings with full city staff to discuss something we carefully discussed and agreed to not that many years ago? We did it with Transit City, we did it with a proposed casino, we removed a bunch of newer bike lanes, etc, etc, etc.

This is inefficient, wasteful and plain stoopid. Stop kissing corporate a__ and wasting time and my tax dollars and get to work on real challenges.
CaligulaJones / March 26, 2014 at 10:49 am
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The hypocrisy of the "don't fill in Lake Ontario" nuts is beyond tiresome. We've been filling in Lake Ontario for over 100 years, and the city itself owns Tommy Thompson Park, i.e., the Leslie Street Spit.

But I guess it gives aging hippies something to do with their days, paid for by generous civil servant pensions.
John replying to a comment from Deb / March 26, 2014 at 10:56 am
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Thousands of jobs? You're nuts. The expansion will create tens of jobs at best if it's allowed to go through as Porter wants.
John replying to a comment from CaligulaJones / March 26, 2014 at 11:07 am
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We've been doing lots of stupid things for a long time, that doesn't make it okay to continue doing those stupid things.
Dan / March 26, 2014 at 11:15 am
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Well its about time.This will bring in jobs and investment
Linden / March 26, 2014 at 11:16 am
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This wil be a big mistake, I hope the concellors say no to the expansion. Toronto is turning into a terrible place for living, the traffic, the constant constructions, and now Porter. What city in their right mind builds airoport downtown, airports are outside the city core for a reason. People who choose to live in the city endure a lot and never complain unlike all these GTA suburbs and town that alaways object local development but are ok with dumping everything in Toronto. Let Porter expends in their backyards and see if they are ok with it
reggie replying to a comment from John / March 26, 2014 at 11:28 am
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Let's keep this in perspective were talking about 400 Meters.

G. Urbanist / March 26, 2014 at 11:44 am
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Can we change the airport name to "New Kai Tak"?
bobbyc / March 26, 2014 at 11:56 am
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The only way I would support more flights at the Island Airport is if a certain percentage of them fly the rest of us to Pearson.
Darren / March 26, 2014 at 12:15 pm
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This is a good idea for the economy of the city as long as the area at the foot of Bathurst doesn't turn into an industrial eyesore like around Pearson. Richard Florida puts it a lot better than I can: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/12/17/bring_on_the_jets_at_the_island_airport.html
Bob J / March 26, 2014 at 12:22 pm
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This is NOTHING. It only means city council wants more information on the safety issues, etc. Once everyone fully realizes they are sacrificing the local residents for Porter Greed, the whole proposal will be shut down quick.
Bob J replying to a comment from John / March 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm
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It might create some jobs, BUT it will also lose tourism, recreation, concert revenue. Airlines at Pearson who Porter will steal passengers from, will lay off staff. The jobs Waterfront Revitalization created will be lost. So in the end, it's nothing good for the city.
Randy / March 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm
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I don't understand the big deal with jets and a bigger airport downtown? If there are flights to sunny places down south and I don't gotta go to pearson, then hip hip hooray for that. Doesn't seem to be any backlash from the other airline companies, they love Porter airlines. The people complaining about Porter, probably never flown from YTZ or live in the ridiculously overpriced nearby condos. These NIMBYs have their nickers in a knot b/c they're afraid of the resale value of their condos. That's greed and silliness in a nutshell. I feel this is one cause ford rob got right about fighting. And its not like Porter lobbied ford rob or the other counsellors to vote in their favour....right?
pat eh / March 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm
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can somebody do up a map shoring the runway extensions and marine exclusion zones, or put up the link to one thanks.
Bob J replying to a comment from Randy / March 26, 2014 at 12:42 pm
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um.... ever heard of the Tripartite agreement? It was a signed contract in place until 2038. Porter, who didn't sign the agreement wants to change it.
Theo / March 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm
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Part of the reason that no other cities in the world would consider this is because they can't. Toronto is lucky to have island airport where it is.
mike / March 26, 2014 at 12:59 pm
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I just want to clarify something, in a non-sided way. The affected areas from the airport are not only the condos right beside it. I live north of Queen in Parkdale, and not only can I see planes taking off if I look down the street, but I can hear them pretty darn well too. This is not an issue that is affecting only the rich in their pied-a-terres, it is affecting the poor in towers on Jameson, the mentally ill in CAMH, and anybody (basically) south of Dundas.
Todd / March 26, 2014 at 01:01 pm
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I am unsure about how "quiet" the "whispers" will be. Is it not possible to fly one into pearson and do actual auditory tests? and compare them to the ones we are using now? In our incredibly rich and connected world, why are we buying something from a catalogue?
OhNo replying to a comment from Bob J / March 26, 2014 at 01:01 pm
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Oh no! It's the end of the world!!
Katherine replying to a comment from E. Toby Coke / March 26, 2014 at 01:24 pm
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Re: ""constant light impairment of the night sky."" means the constant bright lights in the sky from my vantage point. Bright lights all the time out over the lake and, rather than stars, they are airplanes coming and going, interfering with the beauty and peacefulness of the night sky.
suckme replying to a comment from mike / March 26, 2014 at 01:27 pm
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Thats a bold face lie.

I lived on Stadium Road for years and could barely hear them at all.

And even if i did, you quickly forget about the minuscule noise you do hear and it simply blends in with all the other noise of a downtown major city.

So fuk all those people who think that noise pollution will get worse. It is a non-issue and those planes make no difference whatsoever.

You want dead silence, move to the country.
asshats / March 26, 2014 at 01:30 pm
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And to hell with anyone who lives in the condos or has bought a new one being built.

You damn well know there is a airport there. If you didnt and are that clueless, then go get your head examined.

Were you thinking the airport would up and close?
rob / March 26, 2014 at 01:32 pm
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J-E-T-S

JETS

JETS

JETS
island airports work. / March 26, 2014 at 01:37 pm
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I don't hear anyone complaining about the airport on St. Maarten?

Travelers, citizens, etc love their island airport.

And it certainly has bigger jets.

Roz / March 26, 2014 at 01:46 pm
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Talk about an unbalanced article. And some of the comments above supporting an expansion? … the ignorance, greed and shortsightedness is completely mind-boggling! We have only one Waterfront and Island system. We already have Pearson and Billy Bishop. We just don't want an extension of the runway (by 200 metres on each end) into our harbour and our waterfront, or more and larger airplanes flying overhead, or the resulting increase in traffic at the foot of Bathurst. An expansion will be deleterious to our health, too. You should read the Medical Officer of Health's report about the issue. Here's the link: http://www.toronto.ca/.../hl/bgrd/backgroundfile-64222.pdf The Porter proposal is not about necessity, modernization, or progress for our city. Toronto is already a world-class city. The location of Pearson has not stopped anyone from visiting or doing business in Toronto. This expansion is about profit and convenience for the few overriding environmentally sound urban design. It's not even economically viable. It will require millions of taxpayers' dollars, it flies in the face of (pardon the pun) the express transportation we're building from downtown to Pearson, and the waterfront revitalization project we've already invested millions in. We not asking for the removal of Billy Bishop airport. Even without an expansion, you can rest assured you'll enjoy the air travel to and from Billy Bishop on your next ski trip to Mt. Tremblant as much as you did your last one, folks.
Roz replying to a comment from Theo / March 26, 2014 at 01:49 pm
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Talk about an unbalanced article. And the comments supporting an expansion? … the ignorance, greed and shortsightedness is completely mind-boggling! We have only one Waterfront and Island system. We already have Pearson and Billy Bishop. We just don't want an extension of the runway (by 200 metres on each end) into our harbour and our waterfront, or more and larger airplanes flying overhead, or the resulting increase in traffic at the foot of Bathurst. An expansion will be deleterious to our health, too. You should read the Medical Officer of Health's report about the issue. Here's the link: http://www.toronto.ca/.../hl/bgrd/backgroundfile-64222.pdf The Porter proposal is not about necessity, modernization, or progress for our city. Toronto is already a world-class city. The location of Pearson has not stopped anyone from visiting or doing business in Toronto. This expansion is about profit and convenience for the few overriding environmentally sound urban design. It's not even economically viable. It will require millions of taxpayers' dollars, it flies in the face of (pardon the pun) the express transportation we're building from downtown to Pearson, and the waterfront revitalization project we've already invested millions in. We not asking for the removal of Billy Bishop airport. Even without an expansion, you can rest assured you'll enjoy the air travel to and from Billy Bishop on your next ski trip to Mt. Tremblant as much as you did your last one, folks.
Please replying to a comment from mike / March 26, 2014 at 01:54 pm
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Please, spare me your nonsense!

I've lived at the foot of Queens Quay and Spadina for years, directly across from runway 24 & 26. Not once has any aircraft, departing or otherwise, disturbed me one bit. Even with windows wide open. The flippin' streetcars make more noise!

Next.....
Please replying to a comment from mike / March 26, 2014 at 01:57 pm
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Forgot to add: Have you ever been north of the city? Say, to Vaughan? Along Highway 7 out near the 427? I don't see those people complaining about the jets flying at 5000' into Pearson all day and night. NIMBY.
Please replying to a comment from island airports work. / March 26, 2014 at 02:03 pm
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If anyone wants a good laugh - go read some of these noise complaints the TPA receives from these NIMBYS

(Note, you'll have to look at the archives link, as they don't seem to publish the actual complaints anymore. Only a summary.)

http://www.torontoport.com/Airport/Corporate-Social-Responsibility/Noise-Management/Noise-Management.aspx
oh so close replying to a comment from Roz / March 26, 2014 at 02:08 pm
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You're point was almost well made until..

"you'll enjoy the air travel to and from Billy Bishop on your next ski trip to Mt. Tremblant as much as you did your last one, folks".

You're stink of NIMBYISM just wafted uncontrollably through your keyboard.
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from John / March 26, 2014 at 02:08 pm
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Most of us don't consider Tommy Thompson Park "stupid".
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from reggie / March 26, 2014 at 02:10 pm
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You really expect rationality from non-progressives?
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from Bob J / March 26, 2014 at 02:12 pm
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"Airlines at Pearson who Porter will steal passengers from"

You have a truly, and deeply, disturbed version of how this works.

I suppose you're the type who would want Air Canada running everything again.
so good replying to a comment from Please / March 26, 2014 at 02:14 pm
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haha, those are hysterical!!

E. Toby Coke replying to a comment from Katherine / March 26, 2014 at 02:28 pm
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"Bright lights all the time out over the lake and, rather than stars, they are airplanes coming and going, interfering with the beauty and peacefulness of the night sky."

This is a joke, right? The airplanes are ruining your view of the sky?

roz replying to a comment from oh so close / March 26, 2014 at 02:30 pm
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The points being made were that we're not asking for the airport to be shut down completely (i.e., the flights people enjoy will still be available to them) AND the convenience factor doesn't outweigh the multitude of environmental, economic, and health reasons for NOT expanding. Have you read the Medical Officer of Health's report? It's obvious you haven't. Why don't you go sniff some more glue.
roz replying to a comment from oh so close / March 26, 2014 at 02:33 pm
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The points being made were that we're not asking for the airport to be shut down completely (i.e., the flights people enjoy will still be available to them) AND the convenience factor doesn't outweigh the multitude of environmental, economic, and health reasons for NOT expanding. Have you read the Medical Officer of Health's report? It's obvious you haven't. Why don't you go sniff some more glue.
Jacob replying to a comment from Please / March 26, 2014 at 02:56 pm
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Vaughan, northern Mississauga, and etc. were mostly farmland when Pearson was built.
CW / March 26, 2014 at 03:17 pm
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It was just last week when our mayor railing against MLSE getting $10 million from the taxpayers to pay for their expansion. Why is he so eager to give Porter $100 million.

Why is porter spending more than $2 billion on planes and they want the taxpayers to foot the $100 million runway expansion?

Arn replying to a comment from CW / March 26, 2014 at 04:15 pm
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do you have children attending the Waterfront school? Do you constantly have to battle with Taxi cabs,Limo drivers and preventing parents dropping off and picking up their children?
Trust me its becoming a bit to much not to mention the increased amount of traffic infornt of the school,and heaven forbid someone is late for their flight and has no regard for the safety of children/pedestrians and other cars on the street
Theo replying to a comment from Roz / March 26, 2014 at 04:18 pm
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The Jane Jacobs crowd that likes to oppose everything should find a better fight to pick than this one. This is classic NIMBY from pretty much everyone that thinks that they might be affected. Has anyone ever stood in front of St. Jo's Hospital during rush hour? There are about 15 lanes of traffic, two street car tracks and a heavy use rail line. It is ridiculously loud, and right beside it all? The serenity bench for the patients to experience a bit of an escape from the hospital. Opposed to that people seem to think that the sounds of jets is going to disturb mentally ill people in CAMH? How about putting things in perspective? People who are complaining about this seem to have a very poor understanding of airport operations and the natural environment. As was previously mentioned, YTZ is not going to become Pearson with a plane landing every few minutes, as the airport could never handle it ... there is simply not enough room on the ground to store the aircraft, nor the room to grow the buildings to handle such operations. Correct me if I am wrong but at the moment there is not even enough room in the building to screen passengers for some Canadian destinations separately for those for the USA? In all, this debate comes down to confused NIMBY city dwellers who think that the waterfront is somehow a natural respite from the urban jungle. If it is nature that they want, grab a tent and go to a national park. The parks could use more visitors after all.
Theo replying to a comment from CW / March 26, 2014 at 04:20 pm
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Because sports teams and their stadiums are not vital infrastructure that allow cities to grow.
Theo replying to a comment from Arn / March 26, 2014 at 04:31 pm
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I don't think that anyone is making the case that the system is perfect or that certain things like dropping off children at school are never going to be affected. What is important to consider though is that this is true ... of everywhere in the city. Do you think that the store owners on Eglinton are not being affected by the building of the Crosstown? Which is cutting off access to a lot of their storefronts? Traffic is also bad in what was already a really bad area (where the Allen intersects Eg.) We don't make a big deal about it up here though, because it is part of the city growing, and there will always be growing pains. The end result justifies the inconvenience though.
openyoureyes replying to a comment from Arn / March 26, 2014 at 04:47 pm
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Did you move to that area, enroll your kids in that school, then wake up on the first day of school in September and realize there was an airport directly behind it?




EJ / March 26, 2014 at 05:00 pm
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I see the usual porter-paid people are here spewing their propoganda. yaawwnn...
Linden / March 26, 2014 at 05:09 pm
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The city should definetly expand Porter. Considering the overwhelming support for the expansion, we can use funds allocated to transit project such as subway. People can just take Porter to work, it is so tiring to listen to all these NIMBS asking for subuway, you can just bike to work
CJ smooth replying to a comment from EJ / March 26, 2014 at 05:12 pm
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I see the usual NIBY's on spewing their immediate environmental and think of the children responses without even understanding issue.
Please replying to a comment from Jacob / March 26, 2014 at 05:20 pm
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Fair enough, but Island airport has been there a lot longer.
Please replying to a comment from Please / March 26, 2014 at 05:21 pm
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and I'm referring to present day, not the 1950s
OiVey / March 26, 2014 at 05:22 pm
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"People can just take Porter to work". Really? Porter will take me to work at Yonge & Eglinton? Great! Who know?
Quite Quiet / March 26, 2014 at 08:08 pm
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York U Student Here- As someone who lives directly underneath a flight path for CSeries test flights out of Downsview, I can confirm that the jets are shockingly quiet. It sounds close to a soft breeze rustling leaves in a tree.

Now, I can't say anything to the cleanliness of the exhaust or health stats. But honestly, if you can hear these jets over regular city noise, I'd be genuinely surprised. Excess noise is an invalid argument.
Quite Quiet replying to a comment from Quite Quiet / March 26, 2014 at 08:13 pm
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Whoops- I commented in error. The planes that Downsview Bombardier are testing are the CRJ series, not the C series.
Arn / March 26, 2014 at 09:48 pm
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Intelligent response?
"Did you move to that area, enroll your kids in that school, then wake up on the first day of school in September and realize there was an airport directly behind it?"
I have been living here for 16years,and have enjoyed watching small jets take off and land from my rooftop during the past 16yrs, parents have never had to battle with Taxi/Limo or regular to keep out of the school parking lot so I can pick up or drop off their children.
But hold on that would not matter to you now would it all your intentions are is to infuriate those who are affected by all the mayhem at Bathurst/Queens Quay......take note from a guy like Theo
Intelligent Response: (Take note this is how adults communicate differences)
I don't think that anyone is making the case that the system is perfect or that certain things like dropping off children at school are never going to be affected. What is important to consider though is that this is true ... of everywhere in the city. Do you think that the store owners on Eglinton are not being affected by the building of the Crosstown? Which is cutting off access to a lot of their storefronts? Traffic is also bad in what was already a really bad area (where the Allen intersects Eg.) We don't make a big deal about it up here though, because it is part of the city growing, and there will always be growing pains. The end result justifies the inconvenience though.
Rich / March 27, 2014 at 12:39 am
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People constantly rave about Chicago's waterfront which attracts massive crowds and bemoan the state of Toronto's waterfront. The one big thing that Chicago did differently from Toronto was to close down their island airport and it may come as surprise to the pro-expansion crowd but Chicago is still doing extremely well without it.

We're not talking about just adding a few more flights per day here. The TPA is pushing for the flight caps to grow incrementally as traffic improvements are made till there are no more flight caps at all. Those talking about how it can never grow so big due to the space limitations on the ground fail to see the same problem applied to the runway. Jets could never land there because its too short, if they can extend the runway and MEZ to accommodate jets what makes you think they can't fill in the land around those extensions to create more usable space till there are planes taking off as frequently as at Pearson. Oh but it only has one runway suitable for jets so that will limit its size, again if they can so easily extend this runway what makes you think they can't expand more to add additional runways or extend the N/S one right out over Hanlan's Point? Once the genie is out of the bottle what make you think it can be put back in?

As Richard Florida's opinion piece perhaps unintentionally alluded to this isn't just about increasing transportation options, its about deciding what sort of city we want to live in. The parallels to the Spadina Expressway, whose cancellation Richard Florida saw as very positive for the city, are not hard at all to see and the arguments are much the same. The only real differences are that the neighbourhoods that are threatened with destruction and loss of value, both monetary and social, haven't been built yet. Its the portlands developments that will bear the brunt of a major international jet airport at Billy Bishop. There's a reason why Pearson is surrounded by industrial parks, its such an unpleasant things to live near which lowers the land value making it suitable for industry. The residential areas closest to Pearson's runways are much further away than the central waterfront and the portlands are to Billy Bishop's. There will have to be height limitations on new developments in the portlands which will hamper its ability to be an employment area. Plus having jets flying so low over your head isn't going to attract the sorts of developments that stand to make the portlands one of Toronto's best neighbourhoods. We've already invested hundreds of millions of tax dollars and private industry has already invested approx. $2.6 billion in the little bit already underway, the potential for the portlands is too huge to risk with allowing jets. The potential for the portlands on Toronto's future cannot be understated. The other big difference is that those who already live by the lake are seen as "elites", not only by people like Ford Nation but many other who also see them much less sympathetically than the working and middle classes whose neighbourhoods were threatened by the Spadina Expressway.

Keep in mind as well that the island airport was only built there because the surrounding area was heavy industrial, it never would've been built there if it had been residential/tourist like it is today. That's not a reason to get rid of the airport totally but it is a very good reason not to expand it. For the ever growing number of people living downtown the waterfront and the islands are their local park, an essential element to make city life more livable by giving residents a place to de-stress. But its also much more than a local park, its a major regional park as well that draws in a large number of people from all over as well as tourists. Making the central waterfront area more attractive for visitors, who also spend money, is very good for Toronto as a place to live and to visit. Making it a less inviting space does the exact opposite.

No major world city has an international airport as close to its central waterfront and downtown as does Toronto. Many people like to point to London's central airport as an example and it is a fairly close analogy except its much further from London's central waterfront area, downtown, and tourist areas than BB airport is. They too have seen the damage that allowing jets has caused the surrounding area, check out and their main page The sort of damage done there would be much worse for Toronto since BB airport is much closer to Toronto's downtown and tourist areas and affects the entire portlands unlike in London where it affected just a part of their docklands.

The U-P express train is a faster trip than other major world cities' airport trains such as Tokyo and Paris, once it is electrified it will be even faster than just 25 minutes. You can't get from Union to the ferry for BB in less time during rush hours.

Many of the pro-expansion folks talk about how much they love flying out of BB. Will it be such a convenient trip once passenger volumes increase, eventually expected to double in number? Will an airport mainly for business travelers be as comfortable once it starts attracting the tourist crowds Porter is after with these jets? It makes much more sense to push Pearson to improve its service than it does to damage Toronto's waterfront by allowing jets out of BB. For the sake of the great potential the portlands hold for Toronto alone jets must be kept out of BB.
Rich replying to a comment from CJ smooth / March 27, 2014 at 12:41 am
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Its the pro-expansion people who refuse to understand the issues. Its not just about convenience but the future of Toronto.
Theo replying to a comment from Rich / March 27, 2014 at 08:41 am
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You make some interesting points, but a few of them are misleading and some are borderline offensive. Pearson is not only a major international gateway for travelers, it is also an important international gateway for cargo. This is the main reason why there are so many industrial parks next to the airport, it is for the convenience of getting the cargo to the planes.

As for the fact that Pearson is "surrounded by industrial parks where no one wants to live" that is kind of offensive to the people that live in Malton and Rexdale. Those are thriving enough communities, and they don't just live there because they are too poor to live on the Toronto waterfront.

I am all for restricting development if it is going to have a negative impact, but no one so far has been able to point out a single substantial reason why the airport extension is bad? The noise is not yet substantiated, and if the companies claim to have quieter jets they should be at least heard first. Moving the same air traffic to Pearson is not going to have an appreciable affect on saving the environment of the lake, only to localize where that pollution goes, which will essentially affect the lakefront in Etobicoke and Port Credit instead. From what I have read of Jane Jacobs, it is that her environmental focus was not entirely geared towards sustainability. She was interested in complete preservation, which is not a viable approach in the modern world (though I do agree about protecting Cedarvale). What is sustainable is putting one runway for jet aircraft into the middle of the city.

Sustainable how? Basically by all of the pros that Florida highlights (though you seemed to highlight only the cons.) Airports are the new ports for the next century, and ports are the meeting places of minds (even Plato talks about this in the Republic.) When Toronto wants to be a second place city, resting off of the innovation of others, then we will always be there if we restrict the developments that will make us first. Remember in 2008 (until now) when the Great Recession hit, and we lost so much manufacturing? That is because the industry in Toronto is mostly based around using the ideas of others to fuel our own industry. We are not Silicon Valley with computers or Seattle/Houston with aeronautics. We do a lot of great things here, but we are going to be stuck in second place when we restrict ourselves to the ideas of others.

A counter argument can be made that Pearson is there and why can't it be the center of a trade in ideas. The answer is that it can, but what Toronto has is a unique opportunity to develop YTZ. The history of airports is that most of them were actually built a lot closer to downtowns, but as cities developed in the 1950s into sprawls, it made more sense to move them to the periphery (which by now in most cities means that they have been surrounded by the cities again.) Airports need to grow though, and it is a contentious issue, because the airports are now too big to be moved and take up too large of a footprint so they can only grow in place. For instance, Heathrow wants to expand, but essentially cannot. What Toronto has is essentially a chance to expand Pearson without expanding Pearson. YTZ is a mostly innocuous airport, and that the planes can make the approaches to the airport from the water where they are mostly unheard until the last moment, so the complaints about the noise are pretty much baseless. I work odd days, but I work long days and so on my days off (which are often weekdays) I end up taking longish naps in the afternoons. One of my neighbours is in the habit or letting their very loud dog out of the house for hours on end which is about 80 feet away from where I sleep. I don't get to complain about that, nor do I get to complain that outside the front of my apartment that I live on a busy street for bus routes and emergency vehicles. I just accept these facts as living in a city where there are 6 million others. That people think they have the right to complain about minor inconveniences to their lives as compared to the benefit for all others astounds me.

As a final point, Toronto all too often seems to be a laissez-faire city as compared to a "can-do" city. This is why we now face such huge burdens as creating the Crosstown, or creating a Downtown Relief Line. The city essentially can't afford to sit idly by once again on this issue.
Ok replying to a comment from Rich / March 27, 2014 at 08:49 am
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Oh ok, so if we don't see it you're way. We're wrong, because you said so? Ok. Got it.


Jack ass
Rick / March 27, 2014 at 04:03 pm
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If you live downtown, this is great news for you.
The people in opposition need to get their heads out of their A$$e$ and realize that Toronto is a major city and services like jets taking off from downtown Toronto is helpful to the transportation infrastructure of the city and will create and drive more business. Don't like it? Move to Barrie.

And for the Island residents, YOU DONT OWN THE LAND, THEREFORE YOU HAVE NO SAY.... You are simply tenants on a island that choose for whatever reason to be secluded from the rest of Toronto. You don;t like it? Move to Timmins or Hearst.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from G. Urbanist / March 30, 2014 at 01:55 am
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Complete with a new version of the Kai Tak Heart Attack? It sadly looks so.

@Joe & Rick and anybody else that's for this: let me show you a certain website and give you some info on why this is bad (http://www.communityair.org/)

Please read it from first page to last and then get back to me.
j-rock / March 30, 2014 at 11:36 am
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When we finally start to get the waterfront right, after generations of mismanagement, something like this comes along. Toronto just can't help itself.
John Spragge replying to a comment from Katherine / March 31, 2014 at 12:41 am
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It's possible to disagree about jets at City Centre airport. I have no position on that subject. However, at least as many people live in the immediate vicinity of Pearson (the Malton residential neighbourhood starts directly across the road from the perimeter fence). Thousands of people live in a high noise area around Pearson. Pearson directly abuts Etobicoke Creek; an Air France jet actually crashed into the creek. Sending noise, pollution, and other negative effects to Pearson via the Pearson air rail link doesn't solve the problem. If you don't want jets at City Centre, you have a responsibility to work out some way to either reduce air traffic or at least some equitable form of burden sharing.
John Spragge replying to a comment from Rich / March 31, 2014 at 02:21 am
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A case exists against expanding city centre airport for passenger jets. Rich's argument doesn't make that case. It not only fails to address the issues, it contains a huge number of inaccuracies, many offensive.

Let's start with some relatively harmless inaccuracies regarding Chicago. Ignoring for the moment the dismal sight of "progressives" cheering the lawless thuggery by which Chicago's then mayor close Meigs Field, Chicago does alright partly because the Chicago region has about 16 (count 'em) airports in the region, where we have at most six. The Chicago airports include two major passenger airports, Midway and O'Hare. Midway sits directly surrounded by poor neighbourhoods in South Chicago (keep this in mind, because we'll come back to it).

On to the more offensive claims. The argument that sending traffic to Pearson doesn't matter because nobody lives close enough to the airport to matter is, and I have no nicer word for this, a lie. Pure and simple. The residential neighbourhood of Malton sits directly across the road from the Pearson perimeter fence. More to the point, many more people live within the high noise and high impact area of Pearson than live in corresponding areas around City Centre. The Toronto Port Authority calls Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport the most environmentally regulated airport in North America; without endorsing this claim, I can tell you that Pearson has far more impact on residential areas than Billy Bishop. As of the 2001 census, 30,000 people lived within the NEF 30 contour (noise exposure forecast is a weighted noise prediction measure). By the tripartate agreement, the corresponding contour at Billy Bishop may not touch the mainland.

So who are we talking about? By any census measure, the residents affected by Pearson not only put up with higher levels of noise and air pollution, on average, far fewer of them enjoy high levels of educational, financial, and racial privilege. The differences are startling.

Expanding services at Billy Bishop involves problems. Legitimate arguments about the best way to share the burdens of aviation, from which we all benefit. Do exist. Those arguments do not include feeble, and I have to say it, dishonest excuses for dumping pollution on a working class vulverable population.
Joseph M> / March 31, 2014 at 02:07 pm
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Why are people so adamant about protecting the waterfront in Toronto when that same waterfront is almost non-existent. I've been traveling a lot and Toronto waterfront is one of the worst I ever seen. Industrial building just next to Sugar beach? Come on!
Alex / March 31, 2014 at 02:40 pm
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Seems like everyone is ignoring that the debate will be on whether or not to start negotiations for the airport expansion, not whether or not to simply let Porter do whatever they want. Similar to the current agreement city council will set noise and curfew requirements, and address any other important concerns. They can set a limit on the number of flights allowed (though the curfew requirements generally handle that already). I imagine it would only make sense to put a provision in the agreement "jets are only allowed if the noise is below ...", so noise concerns are taken care of. Put in a provision that if the number of ppm of certain pollutants in the area exceed a set amount then all jet traffic must cease until the amount goes down. There are lots of ways we can do this without simply saying "no, never".

Since they already use up all the time slots they have it's not going to increase the number of flights or anything. It will just mean more passengers for the larger jets, and since the whole waterfront is expanding with more and more condos every day this is going to be a drop in the bucket compared to the number of people being added to the area. If you're concerned about traffic and taxis by a school then lobby your councilor to have the traffic laws changed in the area. Create a pedestrian only zone on the part of the street with the school during school times using bollards. Get the number of traffic enforcement officers in the area increased.

Bottom-line: Any concerns residents have can be addressed in the negotiations of the new agreement. Giving a blanket "no" is just silly.
Uh replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / March 31, 2014 at 03:03 pm
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That site is rife with NIMBYISM, I'm not reading that biased trash.

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