Toronto Port Authority Takes Steps to Improve Service and Accountability



    New ferry will improve passenger and vehicle service

    TORONTO, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) today announced
plans to acquire a new, larger passenger and vehicle ferry to meet the growing
travel demands at Toronto City Centre Airport (TCCA). A contract with a
Canadian-based shipbuilder will result in the construction of a new 200
passenger ferry and improved passenger flow to and from the airport. An
interruption in ferry service this past weekend due to unscheduled maintenance
of the current ferry, TCCA1, forced hundreds of passengers onto the open decks
of the TPA's 1950s back-up ferry.
    "It is the TPA's responsibility to deliver passengers to the TCCA
efficiently and safely, and in anticipation of the expanding Porter services
over the next two years, adequate and reliable ferry service is crucial," said
Alan Paul, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the TPA. "According to a report
prepared by an expert industry consultant, our existing ferry service will
become a 'critical issue' in 2009 given the increased Porter flight routes and
the impact this will have on peak ferry service."
    At a meeting of the Board of Directors on November 4, 2008, the Board
unanimously approved the engagement of a Naval Architect to prepare the
necessary drawings for a new ferry. On December 23, 2008, the Board of
Directors approved TPA management's recommendation that the construction of a
new, larger ferry was required due to a number of considerations, including
the rapid increase in passenger traffic at the TCCA, the lack of an effective
back-up ferry to TCCA1, and TCCA1's mandated safety review drydock in 2011.
Earlier today, the Board of Directors took the additional step of voting to
proceed to the contracting stage for the previously-approved larger ferry.
Launched in 2006, TCCA1 is in use seven days a week, 19 hours per day, and
will ultimately replace the current vintage back-up ferry.
    "According to a 2008 POLLARA public opinion poll, Toronto residents are
largely supportive of making improvements to the TCCA, and the TPA is duty
bound to keep up with the growing needs of the TCCA and its users," said Mark
R. McQueen, newly elected Chair of the TPA Board of Directors. "In part due to
Porter's tremendous success, we expect the TPA to be profitable on an
operating basis in 2008 for the first time since its creation in 1999. In the
current economic environment, I understand that the jobs associated with the
ferry construction and the additional Q400 aircraft currently being built for
Porter Airlines at Bombardier's Downsview plant are welcome news."
    The Board is also taking steps to further its accountability to the
community for the operations of the TCCA with a planned public consultation in
February on noise levels associated with the TCCA. In response to the concerns
of some residents, the TPA has embarked on a Noise Management Program that
should help mitigate ambient noise that may affect the quality of life of
residents living near the TCCA. The first public consultation was held on
November 25, 2008. At this second meeting, TPA management will release details
of a study relating to Q400 aircraft noise levels.
    At its meeting earlier today, the Board of Directors also formally
received the written recommendation of the Dispute Advisory Panel (DAP) for
Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILTs) that was referred to the DAP by the City of
Toronto. The Board will carefully review the recommendation and report its
intentions on the matter shortly. "It has always been the TPA's intention to
pay a PILTs amount to the City of Toronto, provided that it is fair and
reasonable," said Mr. Paul. "We are grateful to now have the DAP's
recommendation in hand to guide us." The written recommendation has been
posted on the TPA website for the review of interested stakeholders. A brief
backgrounder on the DAP's recommendation shall be produced shortly and posted
on the TPA website.

    The Toronto Port Authority was incorporated on June 8, 1999, as a
government business enterprise under the Canada Marine Act as the successor to
the Toronto Harbour Commissioners. It is a federal public authority providing
transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses.
The TPA owns and operates the Toronto City Centre Airport, Marine Terminals 51
and 52, and the Outer Harbour Marina. The TPA also provides regulatory
controls and public works services to enhance the safety and efficiency of
marine navigation and aviation in the port and harbour of Toronto.
    Further information about the TPA is available on the TPA website at
www.torontoport.com.





For further information:

For further information: Alan J. Paul, Toronto Port Authority, (416)
863-2003


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