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Island Airport expansion will restrict boats, ferry routes: report

A day before city council’s executive committee considers a staff report on the island airport, new questions are being asked about how expanding the runway will affect boaters.

In a report released Monday, Transport Action Ontario (TAO) says expanding the existing runway, as well as the construction runway approach lights, would block off about three times as much of the harbour to boaters and impede ferry routes and lake shipping.

Porter Airlines signed a $2.08-billion deal with Bombardier in 2013 to buy as many as 30 CS100 jets and has applied to amend the 1983 Tripartite Agreement that governs operations at the island airport.

The TAO says boaters would have to expand the no-go zone of the extended runway to between 780 and 1140 metres compared to the 340 to 430 metre restriction in place now.

The Toronto Port Authority, which owns Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, previously stated that the exclusion zones would not have to move.

TAO also warns that jet blasts from larger planes would be a safety hazard to those using sailboats, canoes and kayaks in the area.

Plans to develop and expand the Port Lands would also be affected by the airport expansion. The TAO says building restrictions put in place to accommodate the larger jets could put a stop to the construction of taller buildings in the area.

“These impacts are large enough that the city should say “no” to the expansion proposal,” the TAO stated.

Grassroots group NoJetsTO, which opposes the Porter expansion, says the report raises red flags on the expansion proposal.

“An expanded no-go zone for boats and an approach lighting installation will hurt tour boats, ferries, sailors and kayakers,” NoJetsTO chair Anshul Kapoor said in a statement. “The impact of the jets on the Port Lands development will be terrible, hurting investments and city tax revenue.”

Kapoor added that it would be irresponsible for city council to give the green light to jets and called the proposal “flawed.”

The TAO is a non-government organization advocating for sustainable public and freight transportation.

The city’s executive committee will consider on Tuesday the staff report, which says pending council approval the city could start negotiating with the Toronto Port Authority and Transport Canada to amend the 1983 agreement and allow for jets at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

Read the complete report below:

Toronto Isl Airprt Safety Zones 2014-03-24