Waterfront Toronto to Conduct Independent Third-Party Peer Review of Environmental Assessment Relating to Porter Airlines’ Proposal for Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

April 28, 2015. Toronto – PortsToronto today confirmed that it will fund an independent Third-Party Peer Review of the Environmental Assessment (EA) currently underway to determine the environmental, social and economic impacts of the Porter Airlines’ proposal to fly jet aircraft at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and the related lengthening of the runway to accommodate such aircraft. This is the result of an effort that has been underway by PortsToronto since December 2014 to review options that address requests for participant/intervenor funding and respond to comments from the public regarding federal and provincial oversight of the EA.
Both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) have confirmed that the Porter Airlines’ proposal and related EA are not subject to the requirements of either the federal or provincial acts. As such, there is no regulatory requirement for PortsToronto to provide participant/intervenor funding.
However, PortsToronto recognizes the importance of having the EA conducted with credibility and transparency and acknowledges that providing a mechanism that will allow for review and evaluation of the EA’s process is of great value. As such, PortsToronto has engaged Waterfront Toronto to lead the facilitation and management of an independent Third-Party Peer Review which will be entirely funded by PortsToronto, an organization that is financially self-sustaining and receives no public funding.
The independent Third-Party Peer Review will focus on an evaluation of the EA process to ensure issues raised by the public are addressed appropriately in the context of EA best practices. Special areas of interest include, but are not limited to, a review of transportation safety and the socio-economic implications of the proposal. A working group led by Waterfront Toronto will be established to guide the peer review. Members of this working group will include the City of Toronto, Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), PortsToronto and two members of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee. A Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued by Waterfront Toronto at the end of this month, to identify an independent, expert consultant team that can review and comment on the process of the EA.
“The procurement of an independent Third-Party Peer Review is being supported by PortsToronto as a step to enhance the existing transparency of the overall Environmental Assessment process, based on comments received from the public, stakeholders and agencies,” said Gene Cabral, Executive Vice President, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and PortsToronto. “It is important that the work being done to inform Toronto City Council, stakeholders, the public, and PortsToronto is credible and relevant. Waterfront Toronto is the public advocate and steward of waterfront revitalization and a respected voice seeking balance on the waterfront. The Third-Party Peer Review that this organization will undertake will no doubt be an objective, informed and highly credible endeavour.”
The Request for Proposal will be available for review at www.waterfrontoronto.ca/procurement/current_procurement_opportunities or via www.merx.com in the coming days.
About PortsToronto (www.portstoronto.com)
For more than 100 years PortsToronto, (formerly the Toronto Port Authority), has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomes more than two million passengers each year; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada's largest freshwater marinas; and, Terminals 51 and 52, which provide transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto.
PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $6.7 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto's waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.
About Waterfront Toronto (www.WaterfrontToronto.ca)
The Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Toronto created Waterfront Toronto to oversee and lead the renewal of Toronto's waterfront. Public accessibility, design excellence, sustainable development, economic development and fiscal sustainability are the key drivers of waterfront revitalization. Toronto's new waterfront communities will use technology to enhance quality of life and create economic opportunity for the citizens of Toronto, helping to keep the city competitive with major urban centres around the world for business, jobs and talent.
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Andrew Hilton
Director of Communications and Public Engagement
Mobile: 416-427-4613