PortsToronto CEO Geoffrey Wilson sent the following message a short while ago to the waterfront stakeholder group that is part of PortsToronto’s Environmental Assessment on the island airpoort expansion.
December 8, 2015
Dear Stakeholder Advisory Committee Members:
I am writing to you today to confirm our position and approach with regard to the studies and activities currently underway by PortsToronto in association with Porter Airlines’ proposal to introduce jet aircraft and extend the runway at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
As you know, PortsToronto has taken no position to date on the Porter Proposal but has, at the request of Toronto City Council, undertaken several studies to inform future discussion on the Proposal. This includes an Environmental Assessment, Preliminary Runway Design and Master Planning Exercise. In 2015, PortsToronto requested that Waterfront Toronto conduct a “peer review” of this Environmental Assessment in an effort to ensure a transparent and professional process. All of these studies were paid for by PortsToronto and no public funds were involved.
In November 2015, Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that his government would not amend the Tripartite Agreement to remove the prohibition on commercial jets at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
PortsToronto respects this decision. PortsToronto will complete the technical work currently underway, but will not proceed with further public engagement related activities pertaining to the Porter Proposal to introduce jets. As such, the studies will not be finished. PortsToronto will make data and information gathered to date available to the City of Toronto and stakeholders that may be helpful to the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan currently being led by the City of Toronto.
PortsToronto looks forward to working with Minister Garneau and supporting the ministerial mandate in any way possible. We have had a strong and collaborative relationship with Transport Canada over the years and no doubt this will continue as we work towards achieving mutual goals for Canada’s transport system. We also look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the City of Toronto and waterfront stakeholders to ensure that the airport strikes an appropriate balance along the waterfront while continuing to offer a vital gateway for travellers. We feel confident that this can be achieved by maintaining a managed growth strategy and by working with the federal and municipal governments in the years ahead to ensure a vibrant mixed-use waterfront community.
With the decision made by Minister Garneau, PortsToronto will continue its focus on the airport’s current operations in order to benefit our passenger base, fulfill the airport’s potential and serve Toronto’s economic interests, all while ensuring appropriate fit with its waterfront surroundings.
Later today we will issue a statement that echoes some of what I have written here and confirms our approach regarding the studies and activities related to the Porter Proposal. We will not issue comment beyond what is indicated in the statement and are hopeful that this will provide the certainty that many are seeking with regard to our position.
On behalf of the staff, management and board at PortsToronto, thank you for your assistance to date on this file and all matters pertaining to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Geoffrey A. Wilson
Chief Executive Officer