PortsToronto’s Environmental Assessment (EA) seems to be geared towards an enabling plan rather than a true EA. As such, it will need to get around the noise that airport produces other than that specified by the Tripartite Agreement (Agreement). The Agreement itself and PortsToronto’s interpretation of how the Q400 with two out of three sound measurements breaching the limits set out in the Agreement are key.
Clause 11 of the Agreement states that the BBTCA must not be a nuisance to its neighbours. The clause also states that anything to do with the operation of the airport under the agreement can’t be called a nuisance. However, the noise produced by a Q400 while taking off, flying overhead and landing, as long as it meets the NEF limits set out in the Agreement, qualifies.
Forget about the engine run-ups, the din made by aircraft once they land or taxi or the bird control gunshots. They don’t count. Forget too about how the Q400’s two out of three sound measurements that breach the Agreement limits are ok according to PortsToronto. The only thing that counts when push comes to shove are the decibel levels produced by the Q400’s take off, overhead flight and landing as interpreted by PortsToronto.
Nevertheless, the Final Draft EA Study Design/Scope that closed for comment on May 20, 2015 contains an appendix on noise. The Noise Assessment Overview states, “the EA will compare the noise model with actual noise measurements at key areas”. It further says,
“Noise monitoring will be undertaken at several locations yet to be determined within the Study Area. Candidate locations under consideration include the Waterfront School, a residential balcony next to Little Norway park, an upper floor balcony at a condominium along Queen’s Quay and the National Yacht Club.”
If done accurately and inclusively, the actual noise measurements could produce a problem for PortsToronto airport expansion plans. This visitor from London, England thinks so. He was speaking near the foot of Spadina, to the west of the airport. No doubt he’s not alone in his closing sentiment.As well, here’s what any monitors in close-by Coronation Park to the west of the airport, on the landside, would hear. Note that the sound of the leaf blower operating where the video was shot is inaudible.
So, what could the proponents of jet expansion do if the noise monitoring for the EA results in nuisance levels of noise in several locations yet to be determined? They don’t have to do anything. The Tripartite Agreement lets them off the hook.