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Cool your jets: Vaughan still opposed to Billy Bishop expansion

Last Updated Oct 21, 2015 at 4:47 pm EST

Aerial view of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport looking north on July 30, 2015. 680 NEWS/Darryl Dahmer

Re-elected Liberal MP Adam Vaughan says he will continue his push to prevent jets from landing at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

Porter Airlines, which has been trying to expand service at the island airport, wants to fly Bombardier CSeries 100 jets from a longer runway.

But in order for that to happen, the 1983 Tripartite Agreement, which bans jets from flying to and from the airport, has to be amended.

And all three waterfront partners – Ottawa, the province and the City of Toronto – would have to agree to any major changes, such as allowing jets and the accompanying runway extension and jet blast deflectors.

“We will not reopen the tripartite agreement,” Vaughan told the Toronto Star on Tuesday, the day after the Liberal sweep.

Coun. Joe Cressy (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina), who, like Vaughan, represents the ward that includes the airport, agrees with the MP’s sentiment.

“Porter’s proposal is dead on arrival. The new government has committed to not opening the tripartite agreement,” he told the Star.

Vaughan, who chaired the Liberal GTA caucus before the election, said then-prime minister hopeful Justin Trudeau agreed to his ‘no island airport expansion’ platform. The Spadina-Fort York MP is expected to be part of the prime minister-designate’s cabinet.

Vaughan’s comments have jet supporters flying into a rage.

“Adam Vaughan, the new “Prime Minister of Toronto”, believes that input from Torontonian’s and City Council is not necessary. He can make the decisions for all of us all by himself thank you very much”, said Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said in a release.

“Adam Vaughan would have never tolerated this heavy handedness from another level of Government when he was a Councillor , but I guess the message he wants to send to Torontonians now is that the new Liberal Government does not believe in democracy or citizen engagement”, the Ward 7 councilor continued.

Mammoliti said he hopes Trudeau will “take immediate action to reassure all Canadians that democracy under his leadership is not dead and that he will respect the wishes of Canadians and due process in this and all other matters.”

Porter will reportedly be asking the Liberal government to consider the “wishes of the people of Toronto.”

The proposal calls for an additional 200 metres at each end of the runway, and 1,658 metres in case of an overrun. The runway is currently 1,216 metres long.

Around two million passengers fly in and out of Billy Bishop Airport each year.

Last year, city council voted to start negotiating with PortsToronto (the former Toronto Port Authority) over the airport expansion. However, council decided to delay a decision, asking for an environmental assessment on a proposed expansion of runways.

Meanwhile, a new report commissioned by Air Canada, suggests a runway expansion and other upgrades to the airport could cost upwards of $1 billion. Air Canada is opposed to jet expansion at the airport.