The March 31 “Master Plan” meeting once again was an exercise in frustration.
Well over 250 members of the public showed up. There were board illustrations showing the airport and the proposal for runway lengthening. People milled around, looking at the boards but there was nothing new in these presentations.
Once the meeting got under way we were subjected to a lengthy technical talk about the airport and the new runways. You had to listen carefully to the boring presentation but there were a few new nuggets.
- The plans now project 5.5 million passengers if the airport is expanded. That is 2.5 million more than the airport handles today. (There was no mention how the surrounding community might handle this many passengers, where the cars would be parked, what impact all this would have on the Waterfront, or even if that many passengers would fly out of the Island Airport.)
- The number of slots (take-offs and landings per-day) are predicted to increase from 202 to 245. (There was no mention of the increased air pollution or Canada’s promise to reduced greenhouse gas emissions in our commitment to fight global warming.)
- The engineers are now recommending a jet blast deflector at both ends of the runway, and admitted that the Marine Exclusion Zone (MEZ) will have to be expanded so that it bulges out on either side of the present MEZ. (Robert Deluce at one time promised to cancel his proposal to bring jets to the Island Airport if the MEZ was increased but we haven’t heard from him yet on this expansion.)
But all of this was just a prelude to the public participation part of the meeting. That’s when the mounting frustration erupted. The public is just not buying that this “technical baffle-gab” was a solution to the problems that an expanded airport would bring. Not one person in the audience expressed a hint that airport expansion, jets on the Waterfront, or the lengthening the runways was a good idea.
As an added frustration, the Toronto Port Authority, or Ports Toronto as they now like to call themselves, managed to inflict the worst facilitator in the city on the assembly. He lectured and scolded people like a public school teacher trying to handle a unruly Grade 5 class.
When is the TPA going to recognize that the public does not want this airport expansion! The Union-Pearson rail link is about to open. Now is the time for Porter to move their operation to Pearson and compete with the big boys!