TORONTO, June 18, 2012 /CNW/ - On June 14, 2012, the Toronto Port
Authority (TPA) hosted a public meeting at the Radisson Admiral Hotel
to discuss a proposal to distribute lakefill under the surface of Lake
Ontario just east of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA).
The proposal would see natural materials placed in a site of
approximately 50-by-100-metres within an area currently designated a
Marine Exclusion Zone (MEZ). These zones prohibit the entry of marine
vessels due to their proximity to flight paths. Under the proposal, the
lakefill material would remain a half-metre below the lake surface to
act as a physical deterrent to boaters, such as is already the case at
the west side of the airport where shallow waters naturally exist.
The excavation of clean fill from the BBTCA pedestrian tunnel presents
an opportunity to use materials for this proposed project, however,
materials from other construction projects around the waterfront could
also be considered.
The MEZ lakefill proposal is a convenient, cost-effective and
environmentally sustainable way of improving safety, disposing of
natural material, and enhancing marine habitats. Below are relevant
facts associated with the proposal.
Questions and Answers:
Is this a plan to extend BBTCA runways?
There is no plan to extend the runway at BBTCA. The airport operates under the oversight of the Tripartite Agreement
between the City of Toronto, the federal government and the TPA. The Tripartite Agreement does not allow the TPA to extend its runways.
Furthermore, this proposal will not create new land surface. The lakefill is designed to top off at 0.5 metres below the lake
Why are you putting forward this proposal now?
Enhancing safety within the MEZ with a physical deterrent-- in addition
to a series of existing "Keep Out" buoys -- has been an objective of
the TPA for several years. We also have an opportunity to enhance marine wildlife habitats.
Furthermore, we have heard residents' concerns about the noise and
congestion associated with the construction of the BBTCA tunnel,
especially large vehicles using Eireann Quay. With the BBTCA tunnel
project underway, the lakefill proposal is an opportunity to reduce the traffic of
construction vehicles for the benefit of our neighbours.
Isn't this just a part of the BBTCA tunnel project?
This is not part of the tunnel project, which will proceed regardless if this proposal is approved. This
proposal was designed to further improve the safe use and operation of the BBTCA by improving the
MEZ. If material from the separate tunnel project is available for use, it
will be used, particularly if that would provide even further benefits
to the environment and local residents.
Will there be an Environmental Assessment?
The proposal will require an Environmental Assessment (EA) to be
conducted under the Canada Port Authority Environmental Assessment Regulations.
The EA will consider the effects, both in the construction and over time, on the environment, the significance of such effects, public comments, and measures to
mitigate adverse effects.
A Notice of Commencement of an Environmental Assessment for this
proposal was posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's
website on May 16, 2012. As a further courtesy, the TPA also reached
out to local waterfront city councilors' offices and city
administration staff in May, to preview the project's benefits.
Are there any environmental benefits to the MEZ lakefill proposal?
Consultations with aquatic habitat stakeholders have indicated the
proposal could create new fish habitats to enhance the marine ecosystem of Toronto
Furthermore, lakefill is a common and environmentally friendly way to
relocate natural materials from construction sites. The Leslie Street Spit and Tommy Thompson Park consist almost entirely
of materials from elsewhere.
The TPA is currently contributing and building a new $1.0 million fish
habitat at Tommy Thompson Park. The TPA also manages the transport and distribution of lakefill at
this park. The TPA has extensive experience with lakefill projects and
Finally, the proposal includes implementing several environmental protection measures, such as sedimentation barriers to prevent possible adverse affects to
underwater habitats during the lakefill relocation process.
How do you plan to consult with the community?
In addition to the recent June 14th public information meeting hosted by the TPA at the Radisson Admiral
Hotel, there will be additional public communications to update the community on the EA's progress and other relevant issues.
The TPA is also consulting with a wide variety of other stakeholders
about the proposal, including the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Transport
Canada, Nav Canada, Environment Canada, the City of Toronto, Waterfront
Toronto, Aquatic Habitat Toronto, local First Nations, and the Toronto
and Region Conservation Authority.
The proposed lakefill project is expected to take place over 18 months
beginning in the summer of 2012.
SOURCE Toronto Port Authority
For further information:
Media contact: Ken Lundy 416-863-2040