City Hall Hears From the Public on Porter's Expansion Plans
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City Hall Hears From the Public on Porter’s Expansion Plans

Citizens share their views on Porter's proposal for the island airport with council's executive committee.

At City Hall today, council’s executive committee convenes to discuss the contentious expansion proposal from Porter Airlines. The airline, which operates from the island’s Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, wants to introduce jets at the site to fly to more destinations. In order to do this, the airport’s runway will have to be extended 200 metres on both the east and west side, and the tripartite agreement that governs the site will have to be reopened.

One hundred and ninety people signed up to make deputations to the committee, which will hear them until 7:00 p.m. in council chambers. The committee will then decide what to do with the staff report [PDF] on the subject, and could send it to council to be voted on as early as April.

This timeline appears to be important for the Porter supporters. A Toronto Star report claims that Porter faces its first payment deadline for the series of jets in April, and will not proceed unless it gets approval from council. But it’s an open question whether council will approve the request: most councillors in the old city of Toronto strongly oppose the move, and some more conservative councillors like John Parker (Ward 26, Don Valley West) and Peter Milczyn (Ward 5, Etobicoke-Lakeshore) either oppose the effort or are skeptical of it.

Despite this, Porter has some high-profile supporters, like Rob Ford and Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly (Ward 40, Scarborough Agincourt). Mayoral candidate Karen Stintz recently changed her position on the issue from opposing jets to approving with conditions, which is also the stance of fellow candidate David Soknacki and the position put forward by the Toronto Region Board of Trade. Olivia Chow opposes the expansion, and John Tory released a statement today saying more questions need to be answered before a decision can be made.