Toronto Port Authority to Initiate Environmental Assessment to Address Porter Proposal and Impacts of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

Tweet this release at: http://bit.ly/1thtN6g

TORONTO, Aug. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) today announced that it is initiating an environmental assessment (EA) to evaluate potential impacts of the Porter Airlines Proposal to introduce next-generation jet aircraft to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA) and potentially an extension of the landmass at the end of the main runway by 200 metres on each end. On April 29, 2014, the TPA announced the release of the RFP for the EA. Today's step is the next phase of this previously announced process. 

The EA is being conducted to help the Toronto Port Authority, and its various stakeholders, review the Porter Proposal; to assist the potential implementation of a RESA (Runway End Safety Area) which may soon be mandated by Transport Canada; and, to respond to the request made by Toronto City Council on April 1, 2014, for the TPA to provide additional information in order to inform future discussions on Porter's Proposal regarding jet aircraft at BBTCA and the extension of the airport's main runway which would be required as a result.

Like all transportation infrastructure, BBTCA has natural limits to growth due to constraints imposed by the airport's limited physical footprint. As operators of BBTCA, the TPA is conscious of the airport's proximity to the adjacent waterfront community and natural environment. In addition, the airport currently operates under a Tripartite Agreement with the City of Toronto and the federal government which limits type of aircraft, operating hours, and noise output from the airport. The EA will help inform the comprehensive analysis of the various constraints and opportunities associated with possible future airport growth and passenger increases associated with the Proposal. The TPA also continues its work to address existing operational impacts, as also identified in the April 1, 2014, Council resolution.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the EA was issued by the TPA on April 29, 2014, with six qualified organizations ultimately submitting proposals. The Toronto Port Authority invited the City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to assist in identifying a short list of suitable candidate firms and participate in interviews to choose a final proponent. This collaborative approach will continue throughout the implementation of the EA through the establishment of a multi-agency Advisory Committee as well as a multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee with broad representation from a range of sectors. The TPA's existing Community Liaison Committee will also serve as an important resource throughout the EA. Finally, the TPA is committed to working closely with the City of Toronto to support effective information sharing between the EA and the City's Precinct Plan for Bathurst Quay so that each of the studies is able to inform the other.

"We felt it was important to involve all of the strategic stakeholders – the City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority – in the process of selecting the team that will carry out the EA," said Geoffrey Wilson, President and CEO, Toronto Port Authority. "This approach makes certain that all priorities and concerns are identified and that we move forward with a team that represents the expertise and methodology that will ensure that the EA will be accurate, credible and relevant to those who are looking for more information regarding potential future operations relating to the Porter Proposal, specifically the introduction of jet aircraft and the lengthening of the runway."

The EA team chosen is led by AECOM, and includes planningAlliance and Swerhun Facilitation. AECOM is a premier, fully integrated infrastructure and support services firm, with a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. AECOM has specific experience with Toronto infrastructure projects and measuring the potential impacts and environmental change related to these projects. Recent local projects undertaken by AECOM include the EA associated with the revitalization of the mouth of the Don River.

The EA will examine the impacts associated with the natural, social and economic environment and will ensure ample opportunity for involvement by the City of Toronto, Transport Canada, Waterfront Toronto, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the Toronto and District School Board, Build Toronto, community organizations, First Nations and Métis, the general public and others. The first milestone will involve discussion and confirmation of the scope of the EA, which is anticipated to happen before the end of 2014, with the EA commencing in early 2015 and taking approximately six months to complete. Timing for project milestones is being finalized and will be communicated in the coming weeks.

In addition to the EA, the Toronto Port Authority has committed to completing a preliminary Runway Design, updating its 2012 Airport Master Plan, and creating a new Master Plan that contemplates jet aircraft to assist in the overall analysis of the Porter Proposal by City Council. These initiatives will be funded by the Toronto Port Authority, as airport operator and not as Proposal proponent, and will be completed in the next nine to 12 months.

In the coming weeks TPA will announce the next steps in the engagement process as well as the launch of a new website that will serve as a central repository for all information generated by the project, and provide a feedback section for the public to ask questions.

TORONTO PORT AUTHORITY (www.torontoport.com)
For more than 100 years the Toronto Port Authority has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. The Toronto Port Authority owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomes more than two million passengers each year; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada's largest freshwater marinas; and, Terminals 51 and 52, which provide transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. The Toronto Port Authority is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $5.6 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto's waterfront and beyond. TPA operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.

SOURCE Toronto Port Authority

For further information: Media Contact: Erin Mikaluk, Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations, Toronto Port Authority, Tel: (416) 863-2065, Cell: (647) 298-0544, E-mail: emikaluk@torontoport.com