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Executive committee defers debate on Porter Airlines expansion

The city’s executive committee voted to defer a debate on the proposed Porter Airlines expansion plan during a Tuesday meeting.

The proposal will now be considered at a special meeting on March 25.

Tuesday’s meeting began at 9:30 a.m. Click here to watch it.

Click here to read the agenda.

The committee adopted a motion from Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong to consider remaining Union Station after Canada’s first prime minister, John A. MacDonald. A report will be presented on July 2.

They are also debating the city’s Aboriginal Employment Strategy. Staff said the city is looking for “broader and more diverse” applicant pools, and specifically to this strategy, making Aboriginal people more aware of city employment opportunities and identifying barriers in the process. The motion was adopted with amendments.

The city approved, with amendments, a motion to transfer some of Scarborough’s Rouge Valley Park land to the federal government. At 47 square kilometres (11,500 acres) Rouge Valley is Toronto’s largest park, and is 13 times larger than New York’s Central Park.

The committee deferred “indefinitely” a motion on the closure of the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto.

A motion from Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly to protect the city’s tree canopy, by enforcing existing bylaws, was approved.

Mayor Rob Ford, who chaired the executive committee until he was stripped of much of his powers, spoke briefly at the meeting. He was against a proposal to increase donations that councillors could use to host community events. Ford said the optics were terrible, especially in an election year.

The motion was deferred indefinitely.

Porter Expansion

Porter is trying to get approval to extend the runway at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport by 200 metres on each end so it can fly jets out of the island.

Under a tripartite agreement with the municipal, provincial and federal governments, jets are prohibited at the island airport.

In 2013, Porter signed a $2.08-billion deal with Bombardier to buy up to 30 CS100 jets and is now attempting to change the agreement.

City staff are still compiling information on the project.

A public meeting was held Jan. 27 to discuss the airline’s proposed expansion. The majority of those who spoke were against the airport expansion.

The Toronto Board of Health is against the expansion and voted unanimously to recommend that the city reject the Porter expansion plan.

Kelly moved the motion to defer the item to a later meeting.