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Council expected to vote on jets at island airport April 1

Cllr Pam McConnell working on motion

Toronto could be a little more than a week away from grounding the proposal to have jets fly in and out of the island airport.

On April 1st, council will consider a new report by city staff on expanding Billy Bishop. The report takes a phased approach to growth, tying it to transit and road improvements while putting a maximum on how many travellers and planes can pass through. The recommendation is to cap the number of passengers at 2.4-million/year and limit the number of takeoffs and landings to 202.

The report doesn't ask council to vote on allowing jets at the airport or to extend its runway in the near term. Deputy city manager John Livey says those issues will be tackled next year by the batch of councillors elected this October.

But councillor Pam McConnell wants to deal with the jets question when council debates the report on airport growth April 1st.  She says she's working on a motion to include it as part of the vote.

A firm opponent of jets on the island, McConnell says she would like to see the city move ahead with negotiations to make the airport and the area around it better. But she believes the majority of councillors don't want to see jets taking off and landing at Billy Bishop.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly thinks "the potential is there" for council to greenlight jets. He told reporters he hadn't turned his mind to the possibility of councillors re-affirming a jet ban in April, saying he doesn't think it is "a reasonable alternative to what they will have in front of them".

Kelly is convinced a decision informed by an environmental assessment and public consultations is possible before this year's municipal election.

But councillor Gord Perks says it's not within the realm of legal possibility to get the assessment done and change the city's official plan before council meets for the last time in August.

The environmental assessment alone is expected to take as long nine months, though Kelly says he will look to speed things up where possible.

For jet opponent Perks, "the only way this isn't an election issue is if council says no jets and the TPA (Toronto Port Authority) goes away.”

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  1. Frankie posted on 03/21/2014 06:07 AM
    Perhaps Adam Vaughan will claim the airport is in Kensington Market and jets would damage the neighbourhood and shopkeepers.
  2. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/21/2014 09:11 AM
    They councillors are suppose to be in office to better Toronto now and for the future. They obviously can't grasp the fact that a Billy Bishop runway extension, coupled with the allowance of jets to land at said airport will generate plenty of income for the city of Toronto. Now and in the future. Business men and women to be politically correct, would rather fly directly into Toronto rather than into Pearson only to commute downtown, on the traffic congested highways of the GTA. By allowing jets at Billy Bishop, in turn you create the opportunity for travellers to settle in downtown hotels instead of the ones in Mississauga closer to Pearson International Airport. It's a no brainer and if these DUMB, OVERPAID councillors don't get, then it's up to us to send them packing. Pam McConnell, I think it's time you retire and leave the business of Toronto to those that are going to be around in 20 years.
  3. Ron Jenkins posted on 03/21/2014 11:39 AM
    Expanding the airport will not benefit the City financially once you consider the costs of expansion (big tax grab), health costs of pollution, wasted infrastructure at Pearson and UP rail link, lost development potential in Eastern Portlands, and ground side infrastructure, lost time in traffic congestion. "Plenty of income" for Porter is not plenty of income for the City. It's too easy to think that Billy Bishop jobs and revenue would not happen at Pearson if Porter put its jets there -- but they would, and much more cheaply.
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