The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) has issued two Request for Proposals (RFPs) in order to begin work on an Environmental Assessment (EA) and a preliminary Runway Design to inform future discussions on the Porter Proposal to introduce new-technology jet aircraft at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA).
The EA will ensure ample opportunity for involvement by both the City of Toronto and the public as the TPA works to make sure that the process fulfills the objectives of all constituent groups. In addition to the EA and Runway Design, the TPA will also update its 2012 Airport Master Plan and will participate with the City in a local airport area city-side precinct plan.
The City of Toronto has required that the TPA implement an irrevocable and permanent annual passenger cap of 2.4 million, whether or not new-technology jet aircraft are ever permitted at BBTCA. The TPA has offered to implement an interim annual cap of 2.976 million local passengers1 while the aforementioned work is being completed and until traffic improvements can be made to address concerns regarding access and congestion. However, as the TPA has stated previously, it believes it would be premature to settle on any particular permanent and irrevocable cap figure in the absence of receiving the benefit of the analysis that will flow from the aforementioned EA, Runway Design and Master Plan work.
“The TPA believes that instituting permanent and irrevocable passenger caps, regardless of whether jets ever fly from Billy Bishop, would be a premature step before the background work has been completed,” said Geoffrey Wilson, President and CEO of the Toronto Port Authority. “We have indicated throughout this process, and in numerous pieces of correspondence, that we want to work with the City to conceive of a scenario that ensures that BBTCA continues to fit within the size and scope of a mixed-use waterfront. However, the TPA must also ensure that the airport can continue to be an economic engine for Toronto and serve the people of Toronto who have overwhelmingly voiced their opinion2 that the airport is an important asset to our city.”
“Council was clear in their deliberations on April 1, that more information is required to properly consider the Porter Proposal,” continued Wilson. “This next stage of study involves detailed work and significant public involvement, and is expected to take nine to 12 months to complete. The request by the City for the TPA to implement permanent caps at the airport before this important work has been done and regardless of the outcome of a 2015 vote – should one happen – on the introduction of jets seems premature.”
“City staff have essentially said that the price of admission for them to further review the Porter Proposal is for the TPA to agree to cap the airport as it is – whether or not jets are ultimately approved – for the next 19 years. We cannot in good conscience, and in the absence of additional information, contemplate permanent, irrevocable caps on that basis. What we can do is commit to doing the work that will provide answers and further inform an important discussion on the future of the airport. Once the work is completed, the 2015 City Council will have the opportunity to review all of the information that they indicated was lacking last month. It is our hope that City staff will continue to collaborate with us as we get this necessary work done,” said Wilson.
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is one of the most noise and capacity restricted airports in North America due to constraints in place under the Tripartite Agreement since 1983. There are no requests from the TPA to alter these important restrictions and the NEF 25 noise cap will not change.
The RFPs for the EA and preliminary Runway Design were posted to MERX on April 25 with each containing the process and timelines for the respective projects and can be accessed here. The completion of an updated Master Plan will commence in the coming weeks with a view to complete in early 2015. The EA, Runway Design and Master Plan will be entirely funded by the TPA with revenues it receives from airport operations. The TPA does not receive funding from taxpayers.