Author Archives: healthytorontowaterfront

Jets won’t fly … & Bathurst Quay development moves Forward

Jets will NOT fly from Toronto’s Waterfront

This week our new Transport Minister, Marc Garneau, confirmed that the tripartite agreement will NOT reopen. Jets will not fly out of the waterfront airport! This is a huge win for all who are working to protect Toronto’s waterfront. This Metro News article broke the story right after Garneau made the statement on Thursday night over Twitter.

Bathurst Quay development moves Forward

The City of Toronto continues to move forward with plans for the neighbourhood next to the island airport. At the last public meeting in April, citizens were presented with various preliminary designs including cultural use buildings, a pool, a new park, airport drop-off, parking, and a hotel. Records from this meeting are on the City’s page here

The Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan is something to watch for in the upcoming months, as we need to ensure designs stay in line with a healthy and accessible waterfront that serves all Torontonians, not just a few. The City says the next public meeting will occur in December.

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January Meetings regarding future of Toronto’s Waterfront

Toronto Port Authority wants to talk with the public about their environmental study of the runway extension. This means the introduction of jets over the waterfront, and an expansion to the overall island airport not just in terms of runway extension/s, but also an increase to air and road traffic and airport operations.
Meetings will be held on the following dates at Metro Toronto Convention Centre (barrier free environment). For details on each meeting click here.

January 24, 9:30am

January 26, 6:30pm

Citizens Seek Independent Airport Studies

<strong>Flocks of geese at the Island Airport create danger of bird strikes, even worse if the geese are sucked into jet engines. (Photo: Ron Jenkins)</strong>
Flocks of geese at the Island Airport create danger of bird strikes, even worse if the geese are sucked into jet engines. (Photo: Ron Jenkins)


Numerous neighbourhood associations and community groups, including YQNA, have recently formed the Greater Waterfront Coalition. The Coalition has requested funding for independent experts and consultants to study certain issues arising out of the Porter Airlines proposal to expand the Island Airport to allow jets.

The request for funding and covering letter over the signature of lawyer Ed Hore (also YQNA’s new co-president), both dated December 8, 2014 can be seen here.

Jets require 200 metre extensions of the existing runway at both ends. The governing document, the Tripartite Agreement between the City of Toronto, The Toronto Port Authority and Transport Canada, however, does not permit jets, so Porter Airlines asked that the Agreement be amended. That requires the approval of City Council.

After some rushed studies and a staff report, Council passed a resolution in early April, 2014 requiring among other things that the Toronto Port Authority, owner and operator of the airport, conduct an Environmental Assessment of the effects of expanding the airport to allow jets. The City resolution also called for robust public consultation. Toronto Port Authority is now embarking on just such an Environmental Assessment, and wrestling with how to make it thorough enough to satisfy the City.

The Coalition formed because community groups shared concerns that they cannot provide real public input into the EA without their own independent experts and consultants. The issues are extremely complex. There is a widely-held concern that TPA experts and consultants will not represent or seriously consider the public interest, but rather will act as hired guns whose job is to make expansion of the airport happen.

If the Coalition receives funding to hire arm’s length experts and consultants, their mandate is to examine the complex issues from a public interest perspective. The request focuses on two areas seen as particularly in need of independent analysis: aeronautical safety, and the economic benefits and costs of expansion.

The aeronautic safety issues include: Will the Marine Exclusion Zone expand if the runway is extended? What are the effects of blasting jet engines near boats. What effect will aeronautical safety regulations have on new building development around the Harbour and in the Port Lands, and what would happen in an emergency? The economic questions include: Would jets at the Island Airport really bring travellers into Toronto, over and above those who would come anyway through Pearson? And what would be the economic cost of jets, for example, if they cause a reduction of tourism in the Waterfront, lower real estate values or restrict new Waterfront developments?

Representatives of the Coalition met with Toronto Port Authority on December 15, 2015, and we are waiting to hear if TPA will grant us intervener funding.

Ed Hore
Co-Chair of YQNA

Environmental Response Team requesting citizen assistance with white or black residues around BBTCA

The Environmental Response Team of Healthy Environments, Toronto Public Health is looking for information from citizens on white residues or black residues in the vicinity of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Their team is meeting with a member of the Ministry of the Environment this Friday (Feb 14) at BBTCA to investigate both issues.

The Environmental Response Team would appreciate citizens’ input over the next couple of days. Please phone or email any of the following information to Barbara Lachapelle at 416-392-7691 or 1) description of the residue, 2) where you have seen it, 3) if it is a single event or a continuous issue, 4) if you reported it, to whom you sent the information and any responses


Barbara Lachapelle, MASc, CPHI(C)

Environmental Response Team

Healthy Environments, Toronto Public Health

44 Victoria Street, 18th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5C 1Y2

Tel: 416 392-7691, Fax: 416 338-1643

Board of Health Unanimously Votes Against Airport Expansion

More good news! At yesterday’s Board of Health meeting all members voted unanimously to oppose the proposal to expand Billy Bishop airport and introduce jets! 

The Board of Health recommends to City Council:

  1. implementation of the “most health-supporting use” of the airport once the Tripartite Agreement expires
  2. any changes to the current airport be made to reduce health impacts
  3. adoption of the mitigation measures in the Deputy City Manager’s November 21 report
  4. conduct a strategic transportation study of the airport and Eireann Quay area
  5. to inspect the airport’s ethylene glycol containment system and stormwater run-off system

There were about 20 people who deputed, emphasizing that the island airport is already harming the health of residents, natural habitat and wildlife. Presentations were made with respect to increased air pollution, traffic hazards, noise levels, and damage to the water quality in Lake Ontario. The Now Magazine tells more.


Toronto Councillor Joe Mihevc. (Toronto Sun files)

an Urban Designer, a Physician, a Mom, a Professor and a Skipper … Aboard a Tiny Ship!

In light of the upcoming vote on the proposed island airport expansion and introduction of jets, the crew boarded the Marjorie E. vessel to castaway any unfathomable myths of “no harm” to Toronto’s waterfront. Get ready to hear the full deck on health impacts and safety threats on citizens, natural habitat and wildlife! Watch the video!

Save Our Waterfront from Cathy Gulkin on Vimeo.

Aboard the Tiny Ship:

  • an Urban Designer, Ken Greenberg
  • a Physician, Miriam Garfinkle
  • a Mom, Kathryn Exner
  • a Student, Ruby Exner
  • a Professor, Elizabeth LIttlejohn
  • and a Skipper, Ron Jenkins

Also on board, Captain Ron, Enzo Dimatteo News Editor of Now Magazine, and event organizer Teresa Ascencao, Acting Coordinator of Citizens for a Healthy Toronto Waterfront

*Here’s a video created from our tour:

… and a slideshow of behind the scenes: [slideshow_deploy id=’408′]

*special thanks to the individuals who donated still images for the video: Ron Jenkins, Linda Dawn Hammond and Baye Hunter!

Citizens’ Vision Statement for a Healthy Toronto Waterfront

Citizens’ Vision Statement for a Healthy Toronto Waterfront,” (a Manifesto) was co-created by 80 citizens on October 30, Metro Hall.

The vision statement serves as a guide to Councillors and the City’s processes, ultimately leading to the council vote on December 16, 2013 regarding Porter’s proposal to fly jets and expand Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

The Statement’s eighty pages defines a collective citizens’ vision for a healthy waterfront with emphasis on preventing harm to Toronto’s Waterfront.

If there is any doubt with respect to harm, Citizens for a Healthy Toronto Waterfront calls on the conscience of Councillors to vote NO to Porter’s proposal introducing jets and expanding Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

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Undemocratic for Councillors to Vote on Public Health without Consulting Constituents

A rushed Health Impact Assessment workshop was conducted on October 9, 2013    – only two months from the mid-December vote on the proposed island airport expansion and introduction of jets.

Despite citizens crying out at all public consultations that health is a priority, citizens were not allowed to participate in the October 9th HIA workshop, nor was a public health consultation ever conducted.

A select list of key stakeholder organizations were invited to participate in the workshop, but their names have not been made public. The workshop was not video or audio recorded (despite the request of citizen, Teresa Ascencao), nor was the Media allowed to attend.

To make matters worse, the final HIA report is only available days before the final Executive Committee meeting on December 5. This lacks sufficient time for the public to review it before the mid-December vote.

Considering the public was not involved in the health impact assessment process, it would be highly undemocratic for Councillors to vote on public health without having consulted their constituents!


Jets & Culling of Toronto Waterfront Birds?

Jets are vulnerable to bird strikes and yet Porter wants to introduce jets onto Toronto Island airport – situated near a globally significant bird sanctuary. Will this require stringent “wildlife management” that culls (kills) our birds and wildlife?

In 2009, Porter Airlines’ CEO, Mr. Deluce said “We’re using turboprops … They handle bird strikes better than jets.” (Globe and Mail Jan. 17 2009). Is there no concern that two-engine jets (the kind Porter wants to fly out of Toronto island airport) are susceptible to bird strikes?(Federal Aviation Administration, 2013)

The following is a list of bird cullings at airports around the world. Culling is part of a “wildlife management” technique that kills birds and wildlife to reduce its population around airports. (Information was culminated by the hard work of Rose Bridger)

The first is a video of Auckland Airport’s black swan cull in July 2013, when 750 birds were shot dead from a helicopter.

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2000 endangered gulls to be culled at Warton aerodrome, UK

Airports in the San Francisco Bay area shot 3,000 birds in two years, including 57 red-tailed hawks.

Authorities cull 2,000 Canada geese in public parks in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx

Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam culls greylag geese within a 20km radius, and gassed 10,000 Jun-July this year. 

Worcester Airport in Massachusetts shoots gulls, wild turkeys, swallows, horned larks & snow bunting.

The wildlife strike hazard management at Sea-Tac Airport, Seattle, includes killing 2,000 starlings per year.

After a near-miss bird strike, Marseille Airport shot 38 Little Bustards, an endangered species.

Vancouver Airport reported a record 238 bird strikes last year, and shot 546 birds + 9 coyotes.