Toronto Port Authority Continues to Deliver on Community Commitments

TORONTO, Feb. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) today announced that it has implemented a key recommendation outlined in the 2010 Jacobs Consultancy Report with the installation of a state-of-the-art aircraft noise barrier at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

The TPA engaged Jacobs to undertake a wide-ranging ambient noise study between 2008 and 2009.  To ensure the highest level of public participation, the TPA formed the Noise Management Study Advisory Group consisting of local residents and City of Toronto area Councillors. The TPA held public meetings in 2010 to discuss and gain feedback from the public on the recommendations of the report, focussing on the following key areas:

  • Establishment of a permanent community advisory committee dealing with airport issues;
  • Noise contour measurements that identify flight patterns around the BBTCA; and
  • Noise management and mitigation recommendations.

Over the past 24 months, the TPA has pursued every available practical initiative with regards to reducing the impact of the airport on the neighbouring community. The permanent Community Liaison Committee has met 5 times since it was created in 2011. The impact of the 2009 Noise Contour Study, which led to an increase to 202 daily commercial airline slots, was mitigated by the 2010 decision of the TPA Board of Directors to grant no early morning or late evening slots during the 2010 and 2011 RFP processes that awarded additional commercial airline services.

The most recent initiative in response to community concerns and the recommendations put forward by the Jacobs Report is the installation of a six metre-high acoustic barrier at the airport's north west end. Installation of the barrier is one of 16 commitments the TPA made last year to Toronto residents, and construction is currently underway following a lengthy environmental assessment, which delayed the project's initial timeline.

"The noise barrier's installation demonstrates the TPA's on-going commitment to accountability and responsiveness to local residents' concerns," said TPA President and CEO Geoff Wilson. He noted that the annual update on the Jacobs Consultancy Report's 16 recommendations would be issued in the coming weeks. Following installation, the TPA will work in partnership with the community to develop artwork for the city-facing side of the noise barrier.

In addition to implementing the recommendations of the 2010 Jacobs Report, the TPA's community commitments include:

  • Ongoing efforts with the City of Toronto on the creation of a new taxi staging area in the Canada Malting Lands adjacent to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The new taxi area will help reduce traffic congestion and noise near Little Norway park.
  • Financial support to the Harbourfront Community Centre's (HCC) expansion of its Room 13 program, an internationally known leadership program for at-risk youth aged 13-17 that builds entrepreneurial, management, and teamwork skills.
  • Financial support for the 2012 Reel Artists Film Festival being held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox from February 22-26.
  • Financial support for Harbourfront's 2012 summer programming, following the TPA's successful 2011 role as Harbourfront's Lead Summer Partner.
  • Support for the annual Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario regatta.
  • Support for the World Wildlife Federation's Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

The TPA has also created a comprehensive operational noise management program, implemented last spring, that includes a noise management office with dedicated staff, state of the art technology to track aircraft noise, and a monthly public reporting mechanism on the website. This model is based on a similar program in place at Pearson Airport.

In 2011, total complaints about aircraft activity were down 33 per cent from the previous year.  Of the total of 216 aircraft related complaints, fewer than one third were related to commercial activity, even though the total number of commercial aircraft movements grew in 2011.  A detailed report on the complaint system statistics and response time is expected later this month, and will be posted at www.torontoport.com.

Backgrounder

Noise Barriers

The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) will be constructing a noise barrier immediately east of Runway 15 adjacent to the Western Gap. It is anticipated that the barrier will be completed by spring 2012.

The six-metre-high, 82-metre-long barrier will be a rigid vinyl structure with a core comprising a mixture of new and recycled PVC with noise reduction properties. It is anticipated that the barrier will lead to a 10dB range of reduction  (perceived by the human ear as half the sound) from ground level up to five storeys.

The barrier is being erected to mitigate noise in response to community concerns and as a follow up to one of the 16 recommendations put forward by the Jacobs Report.

Released in early 2010, the Jacobs Report put forward, as one of its 16 recommendations, that the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) assess the potential of installing noise barriers at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

Following the report's release the TPA conducted an environmental assessment to investigate the potential for noise mitigation. The assessment determined that barriers would mitigate noise aircraft noise from the airport and determined locations that would provide effective noise reduction. The assessment and subsequent barrier design were presented to the community in spring 2011.

The TPA will be measuring the barrier's effectiveness following construction to determine noise reductions.

Jacobs Report

In February 2010, the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) released a report, prepared by Jacobs Consultancy, which looked at airport activities and related noise sources at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA).

The report, which is available on the TPA's website, included recommendations on possible ways to lessen the impact of noise on the surrounding community.

The TPA commissioned the report in 2008 to assess and identify noise mitigation measures that could be implemented at the BBTCA. In a series of meetings with the community during the data analysis period, the TPA discussed noise measurements and potential mitigation measures with these considerations included in the report.

In spring 2010, the Toronto Port Authority's Board of Directors accepted the report and directed TPA management to start working on the 16 recommendations outlined in the report. The TPA immediately established an implementation team, which in June 2010 issued draft terms of reference for an "Airport Community Consultation Committee".

In October 2010, the Board approved the Terms of Reference, and the new Committee dubbed the 'Community Liaison Committee' held its inaugural meeting in March 2011. As of February 2012 the Committee, which meets quarterly, has held five meetings.

The Committee comprises several airport, resident and waterfront stakeholders who discuss issues ranging from the taxi congestion to the construction of noise barriers. Committee members included representatives from:

  • Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association
  • York Quay Neighbourhood Association
  • City Councillor Adam Vaughan's Office
  • City Councillor Pam McConnell's Office
  • The Waterfront BIA
  • Porter Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Waterfront Toronto

The TPA also introduced a comprehensive Noise Management Programme in February 2011, in response to recommendations made in the Jacobs Consultancy Report and requests from the community. Consistent with best practices at other international airports, the TPA established a Noise Management Office with experienced noise management staff who are responsible for monitoring aircraft operations using a new state of the art flight tracking system that was introduced in early 2011.

In addition to tracking flights and monitoring curfew violations and Good Neighbour Policy infractions the Noise Management Office responds to noise complaints within five business days and publishes monthly reports, which are available on the TPA's website (www.torontoport.com) within three weeks of the end of the previous month.

SOURCE Toronto Port Authority

For further information:

Media Contact: Suzanna Birchwood, 416 317 6405 (mobile)

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