The city asked the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) for an environmental assessment that’s inclusive. The TPA hasn’t said they’ll fund community group studies.
Tomorrow night the Toronto port Authority’s rolls out its environmental assessment (EA) plans for the Billy Bishop Toronto Centre Airport expansion. At a preliminary meeting in the middle of November, a number of community groups requested funding. As of this posting, the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) has not responded if the groups will receive any of the reported $1.5 million it will spend on the assessment.
Earlier today (December 8) the Greater Waterfront Coalition issued a press release calling on the TPA to meet its commitment under the city’s requirement for a ‘robust’ environmental assessment. Here are the links to the Greater Waterfront Coalition documents.
The release is posted below.
CommunityAIR is now part of the Greater Waterfront Coalition.
The Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 8, 2014
Greater Waterfront Coalition requests funding from TPA to hire independent experts
Objectivity of airport expansion review at stake, claims new Coalition
TORONTO – Organizations from across Toronto are joining forces to participate in the environmental assessment (EA) for the Port Authority-led Island Airport expansion. As the newly-formed Greater Waterfront Coalition, they are requesting funding to enable the independent analysis of crucial expansion aspects.
“The proposed Island Airport expansion raises many concerns, which prompted resident and environmental groups to form the Greater Waterfront Coalition,” coalition spokesperson Ron Jenkins said. “We are requesting funding from the TPA to obtain independent expert input, a process that’s common on federal and provincial levels.”
The growing Coalition encompasses the Toronto Environmental Alliance, numerous residents associations, NoJetsTO and other groups that are united by a shared interest in the waterfront from Etobicoke to Scarborough.
The scope of the EA, mandated by City Council and conducted by the Toronto Port Authority and its consultants, is not yet determined. The Port Authority has begun work on the EA under an ambitious time frame while neither the masterplan for the expanded airport, nor the runway design has been submitted. Likewise, the proposed jet aircraft has not been tested and certified yet.
“There are many unknown factors that require independent analysis – that’s the impetus for the formation of the Coalition,” Jenkins continued. “Without intervenor funding and independent experts retained by the community, the objectivity of the EA process is at stake.”
Granting intervenor or participant funding to non-governmental organzations, community groups and First Nations is common for major infrastructure projects, such as planned pipelines to ensure robust public input. The Coalition’s funding request singles out aeronautical safety and economic impact as two priority study areas, where independent expert review is vital.
“The Port Authority plans to spend millions on studying the proposed expansion of the airport,” the Coalition spokesperson added. “It is reasonable and necessary that the community receives a fraction of the money to enable independent expert input.”
“While the TPA has no legal obligation to provide funding, we see it as a moral obligation to make independent expert input possible,” the Coalition spokesperson explained. “The study matter is highly technical and requires evaluations by community-hired experts, e.g. on safety and economic impacts.”
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Greater Waterfront Coalition Mandate
We as a coalition of organizations have a shared interest in the future of our waterfront – from Etobicoke to Scarborough, as a destination to live, work and play. We are forming the Greater Waterfront Coalition to contribute and add alternative perspectives to the Toronto Port Authority-led Environmental Assessment on the planned expansion of the Island Airport.
Greater Waterfront Coalition Members (as of 2014-12-07)
· Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association
· Citizens for a Healthy Toronto Waterfront
· Community AIR
· Toronto Environmental Alliance
· Toronto Island Community Association
· York Quay Neighbourhood Association