Toronto’s Waterfront is at Risk

Toronto’s waterfront is a living breathing gem. It hosts up to 17 million visitors per year, drawing residents from all over Toronto and tourists, for relaxation and recreation. It is cottage country for many who do not have the means to go north for vacation. The waterfront hosts an ever-increasing vulnerable natural habitat, and is home to thousands of residents and wildlife whose health are at risk.

There is various harm threatening Toronto’s waterfront in relation to the island airport, including air, water and noise pollution, endangerment to wildlife and natural habitat, and safety hazards. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is a growing (an arguably, already too large) airport located in the heart of the city of Toronto and its waterfront. Its operations are on Toronto Island and its land entry point is within the Bathurst Quay neighbourhoodHanlan’s Point Beach is located directly adjacent the airport’s eastern edge.

The December 9, 2013 Board of Health report confirms that introducing jets and expanding Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, located in the heart of our city and waterfront, will further harm human, natural habitat and wildlife health through an increase of air, noise and water pollution. The board unanimously voted against expansion and jets. On November 27, 2015 Transport Minister Marc Garneau of the newly elected Liberal government confirmed that airport expansion would no longer be considered. This essentially put a full stop to the possibility of introducing jets. However, on the land side, there are significant development plans in the works for the Bathurst Quay neighbourhood, adjacent to the airport.


Citizens for a Healthy Toronto Waterfront 

Citizens for a Healthy Toronto Waterfront are people working to preserve a healthy Toronto waterfront for generations to comeWe originally formed to organize a Public Health Meeting on October 30, 2013, with the intention of collaboratively defining a healthy future for Toronto’s waterfront.

The meeting format included presentations by key health and design professionals who spoke to health concerns, and a facilitated group workshop with attendees to co-create a citizens’ vision for a healthy Toronto waterfront. The presentations from the meeting are posted here in order of speakers:

Sarah Miller Canadian Environmental Law Association

Elizabeth Littlejohn, Professor, Social Innovation and Sustainable Design, Sheridan ITAL

Hal Beck, Professional Engineer, stakeholder rep on various waterfront committees

Pieter Josef Jugovic, MD, Toronto East General Hospital & Brampton Civic Hospital

In the workshop, issues surrounding air, noise and water were solicited from attendees, with respect to human, environmental and wildlife health. The resulting collaborative document, Citizens’ Vision Statement for a Healthy Toronto Waterfront, outlines health solutions for Toronto’s waterfront. It was submitted to City Councillors and staff, to provide guidance from stakeholder involvement.


Many Organizations are Saying YES to a Healthy Toronto Waterfront

Organizations that agree any form of airport expansion is harmful to the waterfront. NoJetsTO, CodeBlueTO, CommunityAIR, WATERFRONToronto, Board of HealthBQNA, YQNAGWNAFriends of the Spit, Habourfront Community Association, King’s Landing Condo, Windward Coop, Arcadia Housing CoopSocial Planning Toronto, South Bayview Bulldog, Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak CentreToronto Island Community Association, Transport Action Ontario, Toronto and York Region Labour Council, are all speaking out!

PTL Strategies has also been known to occasionally support this cause.

The following prominent individuals are also against the airport expansion: Olivia Chow, David Miller, David CrombiePaul Bedford, John Sewell, Margaret Atwood, Ken Greenberg.