Torontonians support Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and pedestrian tunnel,
according to new Ipsos Reid survey

Majority also supports keeping the Toronto Port Authority independent, and the direction of waterfront development, poll finds

TORONTO, July 9 /CNW/ - A majority of Torontonians - 56 per cent - are in favour of improving access to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport ("BBTCA") via a pedestrian tunnel, according to a public opinion survey of 700 Torontonians undertaken from May 27-June 7, 2010, conducted by Ipsos Reid.

The result is in line with a 2009 public opinion survey in which 62 per cent supported a pedestrian tunnel to the BBTCA, with 31 per cent opposed. In 2010, opposition to the tunnel registered 42 per cent.  The questions were slightly different, however, with the 2010 survey saying the $45 million tunnel construction would be paid for by an Airport Improvement Fee, and the 2009 survey question suggesting the tunnel could be paid for through the previously-announced federal infrastructure stimulus program.

The 2010 poll also differs from earlier surveys in that it specifically sampled 300 respondents living South of Queen Street, in what can be generally identified as the Toronto "waterfront area".

"This survey confirms that the TPA is on the right track," said Mark McQueen, Chairman of the TPA Board of Directors.  "We've made major, positive strides over the past two years.  We are a profitable, environmentally-friendly agency, which has ensured that the Billy Bishop Airport has grown to meet the demands of the travelling public.  Despite the odd brickbat from those who want to undermine the airport and the TPA, Torontonians support the path we are on."

"We wanted to ensure that the people who would be most affected by the TPA's operations were properly heard," added TPA President and Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Wilson. "What the poll found was that opinions and attitudes of those who live in the waterfront area were fairly similar to residents throughout Toronto. This includes support for the BBTCA and the pedestrian tunnel."

Other 2010 survey highlights include:

  • 74 per cent of Torontonians think changes along Toronto's waterfront are headed in the right direction (compared to 64 per cent in 2009);
  • 72 per cent think the TPA should remain independent from the City of Toronto (compared to 21 per cent who say the TPA should be disbanded);
  • 70 per cent have a "fair" or "favourable" impressing of the TPA (compared to 54 per cent in 2009);
  • 63 per cent are in favour of an island airport and believe it's "good for Toronto" (including 65 per cent of respondents living South of Queen Street, in close proximity to the waterfront);
  • 75 per cent hear no noise at all from aircraft using the BBTCA, including 58 per cent who live South of Queen Street.  While 2 per cent of Torontonians hear "a lot" of noise; 11 per cent hear "some noise", and 12 per cent hear "not very much noise;
  • Of the 25 per cent of Torontonians who hear noise from BBTCA aircraft, 46 per cent say it is “not bothersome at all” (while 29 per cent say it is “not really bothersome”, 18 per cent say it is “somewhat bothersome” and 7 per cent say it is “very bothersome”). As such, only 2 per cent of Torontonians report that BBTCA aircraft noise is “very bothersome”.

"The results indicate a stable and solid level of support for the TPA and its core mandate, which is to help keep the waterfront running smoothly and operate important transportation infrastructure," said John Wright, Senior Vice President of Ipsos Reid. "This is especially true of attitudes toward Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, even among people who live South of Queen Street, and presumably are most affected by its operations. The conclusion from this survey is that the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is viewed as a positive contributor to the city by a clear majority of Torontonians."

The telephone survey of 700 randomly selected adult Torontonians is considered accurate to within ±3.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Region, gender and age quotas were implemented to ensure a balanced representation across the city, including the over-sample of the South of Queen Street area.  A 2009 survey was based on a telephone poll of 500 adult Torontonians.

A full breakdown and analysis of survey results is available at www.torontoport.com.

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 terminal handling services to businesses. The TPA owns and operates the Billy Bishop Toronto City 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.

SOURCE PortsToronto

For further information: For further information:

Janet MacDonald

(416) 863-2003

John Wright

Senior Vice President, Ipsos Reid

(416) 324-2002


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