The Toronto Port Authority’s Environmental Assessment (EA) – Cart and Horse
The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) is conducting its airport master plan; environmental assessment; and runway extension design all at once. Why the rush?
The Toronto Port Authority and the Airport Master Plan
As Toronto Port Authority president and CEO, Geoff Wilson, wrote on December 13, 2013, the TPA started work on its airport master plan in 2011. Genivar, the TPA`s consultants, gave the TPA a draft plan in July 2012. However the TPA didn’t show the city the document until 17 months later in December 2013.
As part of its preparation for the February 2014 Executive Committee Meeting, the city wanted an updated airport master plan.
On January 13, WSP Canada Inc, Genivar`s parent company, wrote the Toronto Port Authority a letter with the subject line: Revisions to BBTCA Airport Master Plan to Reflect CS100 Operations. The letter listed nine separate areas of study Genivar would need to undertake. The study could take three to four months.
Although the letter mentions “Noise analysis including inclusion of updated NEF contour forecast and impact of runway extension on noise contour”, it seems to assume that the jet, currently undergoing testing, will meet Tripartite Agreement noise cut offs.
That seems like a lot of work and money for a study when the Toronto Port Authority doesn’t even know if the jet will be certified to use the airport.
The Toronto Port Authority and the Runway Design
The WSP letter also mentions the runway. The mention is found in one of the nine areas of study – “Revised airside design including: runway, taxiway and apron expansion; and revisions to navigational aids and instrument procedures”.
The November 8, 2013 letter made it sound like Transport Canada was keen to help. By March 7, 2014 they were back peddling to a position of neutrality.
In both instances Transport Canada claims it needed more information from the Toronto Port Authority, something Genivar is ready to give if it is they who the TPA already hired to update the airport master plan.
We know how long Porter Airlines wants the runway to be. Actually we know twice. In a stunning display of decisiveness, Porter Airlines CEO wrote the city that he needed 168 additional metres or 200 additional metres.
Perhaps he doesn’t know the final minimum length of runway the CS100 requires. After all, Transport Canada hasn’t certified the jet yet. Consider too that Porter is the airline that bought a turboprop that flies reduced load weights because the present runway length is too short for the plane. Indeed, it can’t fly its full range out of BBTCA without a refuelling stopover unless it cuts down on the number of passengers or amount of luggage.
Shouldn’t Transport Canada, as the certifying authority, come up with the CS100 specifications and them with the International Civil Aviation Organization before the Toronto Port Authority pays for a runway design?
The Toronto Port Authority and the Environmental Assessment
On September 3, 2014 the Star carried the following headline: Port authority launches $3 million in studies for jets. The story reports that the TPA says that it takes no position on expanding the airport. Hold on a minute. Why is the TPA spending $3 million dollars on taking no position?
If that claim sounds ridiculous, it is no more absurd than spending $1.5 million on an environmental study on the effects of a jet that has yet to be certified.
The Toronto Port Authority doesn’t know if the CS100 will meet the airport’s noise requirements so how can the consultants determine with any certainty the environmental effects of its noise profile?
The Toronto Port Authority doesn’t know the aircraft’s certified emissions profile so how can the consultants determine the effect of the emissions on the environment?
The Toronto Port Authority doesn’t know if Mr. Deluce’s addition 168 or 200 metre runway extension(s) will accommodate the jet so how can the consultants determine the effect of the operations on waterfowl and other birds?
The Toronto Port Authority does know that it wants an environmental assessment and it wants it now. Could it be the TPA already knows what the EA is going to say?