PortsToronto Issues Statement Related to Studies Associated with Porter Proposal to Introduce Jet Aircraft at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

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Toronto (December 8, 2015)
– PortsToronto, the owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, today issued the below statement regarding the studies that it has undertaken, at the request of Toronto City Council, to inform discussion on Porter Airlines’ proposal to introduce jet aircraft and extend the runway at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The statement, issued by PortsToronto CEO Geoffrey Wilson, reads as follows:

“In April 2013, Porter Airlines put forward a proposal to introduce jet aircraft at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. At that time, PortsToronto advised that it would take no position on the Porter Proposal until a decision was first taken by Toronto City Council. In April 2014 PortsToronto undertook three studies at the request of the elected officials of Toronto City Council – specifically an Environmental Assessment, Preliminary Runway Design and Master Planning Exercise – to inform the discussion on the Porter Proposal. In 2015, PortsToronto requested that Waterfront Toronto conduct a “peer review” of this Environmental Assessment in an effort to ensure a transparent and professional process. All such studies were paid for by PortsToronto and no public funds were involved.

In November 2015, Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that his government would not amend the Tripartite Agreement to remove the prohibition on commercial jets at Billy Bishop Airport.

PortsToronto respects this decision. PortsToronto will complete the technical work currently underway, but will not proceed with further public engagement-related activities pertaining to the Porter Proposal to introduce jets. As such, the studies will not be finished. PortsToronto will make data and information gathered to date available to the City of Toronto and stakeholders that may be helpful to the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan currently being led by the City of Toronto.

PortsToronto looks forward to working with Minister Garneau and his team in supporting the ministerial mandate in any way possible. We also look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the City of Toronto and waterfront stakeholders to ensure that the airport strikes an appropriate balance along the waterfront while continuing to offer a vital gateway for travellers. We feel confident that this can be achieved by maintaining a managed growth strategy and by working with the federal and municipal governments in the years ahead to ensure a vibrant mixed-use waterfront community.

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is an exceptional infrastructure asset for the City of Toronto, providing both access and economic gain for the city. PortsToronto remains focused on engaging in important initiatives such as the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan and working with the community on opportunities to enhance the airport by investing in noise mitigation, traffic management and other measures. With the decision made by Minister Garneau, PortsToronto will continue its focus on the airport’s current operations in order to benefit our passenger base, fulfill the airport’s potential and serve Toronto’s economic interests, all the while ensuring appropriate fit with its waterfront surroundings. 

PortsToronto would like to thank all of those who participated in the public consultation that took place as part of the Environmental Assessment and other studies including those member organizations on the Agency Advisory Committee, groups on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, members of the public, city councillors and staff, Transport Canada, the Community Liaison Committee, First Nations and M├ętis communities and Waterfront Toronto which has provided outstanding support and expertise through this process, including overseeing a peer review. The information gathered as part of this process is indeed valuable and we look forward to other opportunities to work together in the future.”

No further comment will be issued by PortsToronto regarding this matter. 

PortsToronto (www.portstoronto.com)
For more than 100 years PortsToronto (formerly 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. A financially self-sustaining government business enterprise, 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 $5.6 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. 

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Media Contact:
Erin Mikaluk
Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations, PortsToronto
Tel: (416) 863-2065; Cell: (647) 298-0544
E-mail: emikaluk@portstoronto.com