Airport Expansion

Letter to the Editor, February 20, 2015


Re: Billy Bishop expansion plan needs real scrutiny

The Toronto Port Authority (Ports Toronto) recently set up a webpage to provide information about its supposedly objective environmental assessment of the proposed expansion of the Island Airport.

The title used to headline the page was “Understanding the Impacts of Porter’s Proposal and the Physical and Operational Changes Required to Accommodate It.”

On February 4, 2015, I wrote to the website manager to express my concern that this headline displays a clearly biased framing of the assessment, one which presumes a decision in favour of Porter’s proposal and frames the goal as figuring out how to “accommodate” Porter. In response to my letter, the headline was changed to sound more neutral.

One has to suspect, however, that the original framing expresses the true intent of the TPA’s environmental assessment.

This coincides with the views expressed by Paul Bedford, David Crombie, Jack Diamond, Anne Golden, and Ken Greenberg in their February 14, 2015 article, in which they point out that “Ports Toronto is hardly an objective third party.“

My view is that any consideration of an expansion of the Island airport should start from the Toronto Board of Health assessment that even the airport in its present configuration is already harmful to public health.

In addition it would contribute to climate change by increasing emissions and air pollution and decreasing green and recreational space and as such is totally contrary to the current recommendations in the Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada in 2014 on climate mitigation.

Miriam Garfinkle