A double-entendre in the title, as we’re expanding the discussion from last week on the proposed expansion to Billy Bishop Airport (a.k.a. “Toronto Island Airport”/YTZ) to include cs100 jets by 2016. So as not to repeat myself, you can read last week’s post here.
On Tuesday, February 25 (meaning tomorrow), a final public consultation will happen at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute (145 Guildwood Parkway, Scarborough) from 6:30-9:00pm before the issue goes to City Council Executive Committee on March 25.
Aside from the previously discussed points on noise and environment, another consideration is that the Union Pearson Express (UP Link) will be in effect prior to any proposed YTZ expansions, and could assuage concerns about commuting to Pearson Airport versus YTZ. The UP Link, which projects completion for Spring 2015 in time for the Pan Am Games, was awarded Project of the Year at the 2013 Global AirRail Awards. It will run every 15 minutes and provide a 25-minute trip from Union Station to Pearson. Further stresses on regulation boards, plane inspectors and mechanics, as well as housing concerns for employees are just some of the economic and practical impacts that also come into the picture.
Traffic congestion in downtown Toronto has long been an issue amongst citizens, and expansion of YTZ could surely contribute to further congestion at Union Station and along Front Street, King Street, and Liberty Village. The extent to which public transit can handle the increased traffic is also up for debate.
These and many other factors are still as of yet unexplored to the extent to which Toronto could be rushing into a corporate-driven decision that may in fact not be in the best interests of the city. I have stated previously that I am not “No Jets Forever,” but I do hope that Council can take these factors into consideration and look at YTZ through a longer lens. Tuesday is an opportunity for citizens like you and I to get involved in the discussion at a crucial point in this issue’s development.