Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau confirms no expansion, and no jets, at Toronto lakeside airport

Billy Bishop waterfront airport is a small airport in Toronto, on the lake edge close to central Toronto. It has a small number of passengers and its one runway is only about 1,200 metres. For several years there have been plans to expand the airport, extend its runway, and get jets instead of the turboprops at present. These plans have been strenuously opposed by people who did not want the much loved water front to have loud planes only perhaps 600 feet overhead.  There is already a large airport, Pearson, outside Toronto.  Now the local group, “NOJets .O” are delighted that the new Transport Minister Marc Garneau has confirmed that the expansion will not go ahead. The minister’s clarification means the expansion proposal has been stopped, and the threat of jets over the city’s water front has been removed. This is a credit to the two and a half years of very active campaigning by Toronto citizens, wanting to preserve the quality of their area, and the public amenity of the lakeside. The decision is seen as a blow to Porter Airlines Inc. expansion plans and a potential aircraft order topping $2-billion for Bombardier Inc. 



Minister Garneau Makes Right Decision for Toronto’s Waterfront

End of Island Airport expansion scheme is a win for all of Toronto.

NoJetsTO applauds Transport Minister Garneau’s comments that the Island Airport expansion will not go ahead. The minister’s clarification means the expansion proposal has been stopped.

“Today Toronto residents woke up to the good news that the threat of jets on our waterfront is removed,” NoJetsTO Chair Norman Di Pasquale said. “Minister Garneau’s comments reaffirming the Liberal position remove any doubt – the Island Airport expansion scheme is dead.”

The new Transport Minister took to Twitter late Thursday night to clarify the government’s anti-airport expansion stance.

“The federal government was elected on the promise of stopping the jets on our waterfront and we are happy they stand by their word,” Di Pasquale added. “It’s a pivotal moment for the future of our waterfront that is the result of 2.5 years of citizen-led action.”

“With countless residents from Scarborough to Etobicoke coming together to protect our waterfront this is a win for all of Toronto,” the NoJetsTO chair explained. “City Council and the Port Authority need to acknowledge the new realities and pull the plug on the expansion study.”

“The federal government is making a prudent decision by safeguarding its large investment in waterfront revitalization,” Di Pasquale added. “We look forward to seeing continued federal support for Waterfront Toronto and a reform of the Toronto Port Authority.”

NoJetsTO is the largest group dedicated to preserving Toronto’s mixed-use waterfront and a regional Island Airport. As a citywide residents organization, NoJetsTO opposes the expansion of the Island Airport through jet aircraft and extended runways.


Local Group is   NO.Jets.TO

On Twitter at @NoJetsTO

The say:

Why No Jets?

Toronto’s Waterfront is our heart. It’s where Toronto goes to relax and play. For many others its where we run, picnic, work, sail, and live. What many people might not know, is that the Waterfront is undergoing a revitalization, and as a city we’ve invested money, time, and passion into making it the Waterfront we deserve. The Island Airport expansion threatens all of that. See the points below and share the images to let your friends and family know that you’re standing up for your Waterfront.

Your cottage in the heart of the city

Public space is important to Torontonians. It’s why we’ve invested in making the Waterfront a place for residents and families to gather and spend their time. In the winter we skate, in the summer we attend festivals and sample delicious food. Waterfront activities attract 17 million visits per year. An expanded Island Airport will change all this, turning the Waterfront into Pearson-by-the-Lake.  [Pearson is the main Toronto airport].

Protect our public investments

As Torontonians, we prioritized investing in our Waterfront. The revitalization has paid off and produced 40,000 jobs and over 3.2 billion dollars in economic benefits. Ongoing and planned projects will create another 6.4 billion dollars in economic impacts and an additional 5,000 jobs. Why would we put all this in jeopardy? The Airport Expansion will cost us $300 million in tax dollars and, with jets flying as low as 600 ft., will devalue the land and damage future development.

Our health, our environment, our safety

The extended runway of the Island Airport will take away roughly the equivalent of 23 football fields! The expansion will more than double the number of people using the airport from 2.4 million to more than 4 million. Jets at the Island Airport will threaten wildlife, with extensive bird culling required. The expansion will cause gridlock, noise, and cancer causing pollution. Jets are not worth the cost to our health, and to our environment!

Ottawa confirms no jets for Toronto’s Island airport

Canada’s Transport Minister confirmed the Liberal government will not allow passenger jets to fly out of Toronto’s Island airport, dealing a blow to Porter Airlines Inc. expansion plans and a potential aircraft order topping $2-billion for Bombardier Inc.

Marc Garneau took to Twitter Thursday night to say that the government will not reopen an agreement necessary to expand operations at Toronto’s Billy Bishop City Centre Airport.

New Transport Minister Garneau says no jets at Billy Bishop airport ( CTVNews Video )

“I confirm that [the government of Canada’s] position is the same as [the Liberal Party’s commitment during the election campaign]: We will not reopen” the agreement, Mr. Garneau tweeted.

The Minister’s definitiveness on Twitter contrasts with his fuzziness earlier in the day Thursday when he suggested the matter was still under review. “What I’m doing at the moment is examining all of the factors that are involved in this. It’s a complex issue,” he said.

Porter has put in a conditional purchase agreement for as many as 30 Bombardier C Series jets as part of a planned expansion. The order is for 12 CS100 planes and options for another 18 of the same jets, worth $2.15-billion (U.S.) at 2015 list prices if it exercises all purchase rights and options. Porter said the airliner in a 107-seat configuration would be ideal for its planned operations.

Porter said it would place the order only if the runway at the Island airport is extended to accommodate jets. Authorization for such a runway extension would require opening and renegotiating a three-party agreement between Ottawa, Ports Toronto and the City of Toronto.

Bombardier had not counted the order as firm on its order book so isn’t losing a customer as such. The company has 243 firm orders for its C Series jets but hasn’t signed a new deal in more than a year. The jet development program is more than two years and $2-billion over budget.

Porter declined immediate comment. Company spokesman Brad Cicero said by e-mail that the airline is “not in a position to do interviews or provide a statement at the moment.”

Officials with Bombardier were not immediately available to comment Friday.

Ottawa’s decision puts the Trudeau government in a tough spot. Quebec had requested that the federal government deliver financial aid to Bombardier in the wake of Quebec’s own $1-billion investment in the company announced last month. At first glance, it would appear hypocritical for Ottawa to dash Bombardier’s hopes for a C Series order of that magnitude while also helping the plane maker with a sizable level of funding.

Porter is seeking changes that would lengthen the runway at Billy Bishop by 200 metres in each direction to allow the C Series jets to take off and land. The airline currently flies a fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprop planes from the airport. Having the C Series would allow the carrier to offer longer flights, from Toronto to Western Canada, for example.



See earlier:

Opponents of expanding Billy Bishop lakeside airport in Toronto say they will not compromise in fighting the damaging plans

The fight by Toronto citizens against permission for much noisier  jets to use Billy Bishop lakeside airport continues. There has been the suggestion that there could be “compromise” to resolve the dispute. Opponents do not accept this, as the impact of effectively doubling the size of the lakeside airport  – with jets not turboprops; with greatly lengthened runway and rows of light approach towers extending up to 700 metres beyond the runways; and planes landing and taking off every two minutes. There would also need to be high and obtrusive walls lining the runways to shield small boats using the lake from jet thrust. And on the land side, doubled volumes of traffic carrying passengers, jet fuel, services and etc creating bad road congestion. That is on top of noise concerns, impacts on air quality and habitat. Concerned residents fear the expansion means not a change in degree, but a different kind of airport. The justifications for the rush to judgement to approve this massive shift are convenience for some business travellers and a purported economic advantage. Campaigners against say both are specious.  Much more important is what would be sacrificed. Toronto people love their waterfront, which has been improved by adding new and improved places for the public to enjoy. The airport would destroy much of that.



In Toronto expansion of lakeside Billy Bishop airport is strenuously opposed by thousands whose lives it would adversely affect

Pearson airport is the main airport for Toronto. It has several long runways, can take large jets, and had around 35 million passengers in the past year. By contrast, Billy Bishop waterfront airport is tiny, lying along the lake edge close to central Toronto. Its one runway, by the water, is only about 1,200 metres and it had 2 million passengers last year. There are plans to greatly expand Billy Bishop airport, with the runway extended by 200 metres at both ends, to take jets rather than the current turboprops. There are plans for greatly increased numbers of passengers. There has been very vocal opposition from the local group, NoJetsTO, who fear having this enlarged airport will have highly negative impacts on the city, creating noise, air pollution, water pollution, disruption to leisure activities that take place on the lake, traffic congestion, interference with childrens’ learning in school, and lowering the quality of life of many living in the area. They say the large jets should stay at Pearson airport, which is well equipped to deal with them. Now the airport’s plans, by Porter Airlines, will not be considered by the city until February. Toronto city’s executive committee voted to defer debate of the controversial proposal till February 4 or to a specially called meeting.