Finally sanity will return to Toronto’s Waterfront, and we have to thank Adam Vaughan, Justin Trudeau, and the election of a majority Liberal government.
With the announcement in Ottawa on Monday by Liberal Party spokesperson Daniel Lauzon, that the Canadian government would not open the Tripartite Agreement to allow jets at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, the Porter Airlines/Robert Deluce jet proposal is good and finally dead.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
CommunityAIR, the people who live, work and visit the Waterfront, and most of the people of Toronto, join in the thanks. The proposal for jets has finally been relegated to the ash can of history.
Ports Toronto and Robert Deluce have said that the studies for the environmental assessment on the jet proposal should continue. That would be a waste of money, time, and effort. We must turn our attention to broader issues, like how to make the Waterfront a truly spectacular feature of the city by redeveloping the airport lands.
An airport is incompatible with the redeveloped Waterfront. Porter can move its operations to Pearson. With the opening of the Union Pearson Express there is excellent access from Pearson to the downtown. Mr. Deluce and Porter will be welcomed in Toronto’s largest international airport. It has the most up to date technology and features for passengers. We do not need a downtown airport.
There are 215 acres of land at the Island Airport. This is the most spectacular property in Toronto and southern Ontario. It is adjacent to the harbour, and Toronto Island Park, the largest downtown park in the city. To the north and east is Toronto’s skyline, and to the west and south are the pristine waters of Lake Ontario. It is time that we have a collective discussion about how to turn these lands into something truly wonderful for all to enjoy.
There is greater social and economic potential in the redevelopment of these lands than if it continues as an airport. The city, federal and provincial governments will earn far greater tax revenue with redevelopment.
Imagine for a moment, an extension of the Island Park into the airport lands. Perhaps there could be a magnificent, iconic building on the water’s edge devoted to the celebration of Canadian Aboriginal people. Maybe there can be some interesting housing, or possibly a University of Toronto campus devoted to the study of natural history.
The redevelopment of the Island Airport lands is an exciting opportunity that we must not miss.