Sham environmental assessment (EA) aren’t our words but they do express CommunityAIR’s sentiment about PortsToronto’s (PosTO) EA. The words appear in a recent Star article and come from five prominent Torontonians whose training and experience give credence to their views.
Paul Bedford was chief planner of Toronto from 1996 to 2004 and is Adjunct Professor of Urban & Regional Planning at both the University of Toronto and Ryerson University.
The Honourable David Crombie is a former mayor of Toronto, former MP and Minister of Health and Welfare, and head of the Royal Commission on the Future of Toronto’s Waterfront.
Jack Diamond is a Toronto-based international architect, an Officer of the Order of Canada. He served as Chairman of the Design Advisory Committee for the National Capital.
Anne Golden is Co-Director of the Ryerson City Building Institute, former President and CEO of the Conference Board of Canada, Officer of the Order of Canada.
Ken Greenberg is Principal of Greenberg Consultants and former head of Architecture and Urban design in the Toronto Planning Department and author of Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder.
City council in a unanimous vote on April 1, 2014, called for an independent and unbiased study. Instead it got PosTO’s version of an EA. PortsToronto is hardly unbiased as an expanded airport with jets would benefit its main tenant, Porter Airlines, and by extension PosTO itself. PortsToronto, in the driver seat, can design and execute the EA to suit its own needs.
Not all the parties to the expansion plans are subject to public scrutiny. Transport Canada, which must give regulatory approval for the expansion, only has to work with PortsToronto to implement the PosTO plans once PortsToronto rubber stamps its own approval of the scheme.
The outcome of the EA, the way PosTO is conducting it, will not ‘fairly or accurately assess’ the effect that allowing jets and the projected 4,000,000 plus passengers annually, matching volumes at Ottawa International Airport, will have on the waterfront.
To ensure that a proper EA is conducted, the authors call on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to weigh in and call on Transport Canada to take part in the discussion before the fact.
On Another Note
The same day as the Star published its article, the Globe and Mail posted a piece about the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s 127th annual dinner.
Rubbing shoulders were Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines, who recently sold the Porter Airlines airport terminal and who stands to make handsome profits on public land if the airport expansion goes through.
John Sherrington, vice-chair of global investment banking at Scotiabank whose institution took part in underwriting the debt financing for the airport terminal sale.
Larry Tanenbaum, recent purchaser of Porter Airline’s airport terminal and who stands to make handsome on public land profits if the airport expansion goes through.
Toronto mayor John Tory whose council must give approval to the airport expansion plans.
Also in attendance was the person on the left.
Readers who are concerned about the future of the waterfront and in particular the PosTO’s sham environmental assessment may want to contact her.
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Canada M7A 1A1