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Key Vote: Island Airport Expansion

In an omnibus motion, councillors voted to ratify a number of items that could permanently damage the future of Toronto’s waterfront. The councillors voted to settle a lawsuit with the Toronto Port Authority, granting it $50 million in cash and in land. Council also approved a fixed link to the Toronto Islands in principle. Finally, the councillors also voted to allow unlimited commercial air traffic at the Toronto Island Airport. Taken together, these three outcomes represent a crippling blow to the future of Toronto’s waterfront.

All across Toronto, voices have cried out for a green, sustainable waterfront. The so-called “fixed link” would corrupt the natural beauty inherent to the island, paving the way for the airport expansion. Currently, the airport needs to spend $2 for every $1 of revenue generated, with the city making up the difference. Meanwhile, the Toronto Port Authority is the federally-created but city-funded organization masterminding the airport expansion.

Dr. Sheela Basrur has spoken out against the possible health risks. Plane emissions contain a number of known carcinogens. Seattle residents near their downtown airport report 36% higher cancer rates than the average. A future of huge passenger jets flying perilously close to the dense downtown core is incompatible with the future of communal green space on the waterfront. The plane crash of July 6 2003, in foggy conditions, could have been far more devastating had it occurred on the other side of the airport. The airport vote hurts us now and creates a Toronto unfit to bequeath to our children.

Vote Essentials:
That Council settle with the Toronto Port Authority for $48.6 million dollars in cash and land, that Council approve a fixed link in principle, and that Council approve an expansion of the Island Airport

Voting FOR the Island Airport expansion and fixed-link bridge: 28
Ashton, Augimeri, Balkissoon, Berardinetti, Cho, Di Giorgio, Dominelli, Duguid, Feldman, Flint, Ford, Hall, Holyday, Kelly, Korwin-Kuczynski, Lastman, Li Preti, Lindsay Luby, Milczyn, Minnan-Wong, Moscoe, Nunziata, Ootes, Shaw, Shiner, Silva, Soknacki, Sutherland

Voting AGAINST the Island Airport expansion and fixed-link bridge: 12
Altobello, Bussin, Chow, Johnston, Irene Jones, Laura Jones, McConnell, Mihevc, Miller, Pantalone, Pitfield, Rae

Vote Date: June 2003

Vote Specifics: Clauses Nos. 1 and 2 of Report No. 6 of The Policy and Finance Committee, headed “Proposed Settlement of the Legal Dispute between the City of Toronto, City of Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO) and the Toronto Port Authority (TPA)” and “The Toronto City Centre Airport”, respectively

For more information, see the City Council Minutes. (PDF file opens in a new window.)