Close the Toronto Island Airport

Cities don’t allow airports near the downtown core for many obvious reasons. Here in Toronto we continue to allow the lucrative Toronto Island airport to expand; yesterday another expansion was announced by airport owners: Porter Airlines. Our green spaces are shrinking and our city is becoming increasingly ugly- all so that Bay Street businesspeople can cut 20 minutes off their travel time to catch a flight.. . . .. oh and isn’t it strange, through this economic “whathaveyou” the rich man’s airline is booming. . . .?. . . . ..back to the island.

Toronto’s waterfront sucks, we’ve already given up most of the mainland property to developers to build massive condos, The rest of the city no longer has a view of the lake because of a fortress wall of condominium towers they’ve created to block our view. Soon there will be nothing but beach and concrete- at least until they get desperate enough to build over the beaches. The island is a unique natural oasis snuggled right next to the core of the city, we are extremely fortunate to have it; it needs our protection. I strongly recommend going for a day’s visit this summer- just look out for goose poop.

For years they’ve been trying to build a bridge to the island. Not surprisingly, most people living near the area are opposed to building a fixed link and environmentalists are fuming over the prospect of blocking a natural waterway. Looking out at the lake, we see the green beauty of the island on its eastern end, and a giant slab of grey concrete and flashing lights on the west. If the island’s purpose continues to shift toward profit, the inevitable ultimate cash generator would be a leveling of the rest of the island with a paving machine. This airport needs to be stopped now. Every time it grows, the chances of saving the island parkland dwindles. The island property is worth a fortune, and Porter Airlines is getting stronger and stronger.

Not only does expansion of the island airport destroy something beautiful, it brings with it many negatives. The roaring of jets is surely annoying the hell out of people who’ve purchased costly waterfront condos, the extra pollution is choking the poor joggers and dog walkers, and increased traffic is a menace, . . . . ..Man in a suit from the back of a cab trying to get to the ferry: “Goddamn tourists, don’t they know i have a meeting in Boston at 5!”. . . . ..Those goddamn tourists won’t bother bringing their money to Toronto if the concrete wielding business class continue to get their way.

Of course the most obvious reason to stop Porter Airlines and remove the island airport is that planes will crash, its inevitable. Maybe not this decade, maybe not the next, but it will happen. You don’t build airports next to your most densely populated areas, its idiotic. Don’t get me wrong, i’ve got nothing against the nice people of Mississauga who surround Pearson International Airport, but when a small housing development gets crashed into its far less devastating than when a massive condominium is smashed. Its simple math, better that 3 stories get taken out than 33. Even last year when they had a plane skid off the runway at Pearson, it ended up in a vacant lot and no one was hurt. A plane skidding of the island into the lake would surely be fatal for the passengers and environmentally devastating. Worse yet, the plane could skid off into the tourist end of the island packed with families and vacationers.

The amount of customers who can afford the expensive tickets at Porter Airlines remains limited, so its seems as though air traffic can be throttled on the island by keeping prices high. But Porter’s expansion yesterday was one to increase capacity, so they’re looking to lure more customers away from Pearson. Of course once the new capacity is at max, they’ll have to start asking for more space. Fill that space and start pressing again for more planes. . . The larger this operation gets, the more power its going to have over the direction of our waterfront. The whole island would be unbelievably valuable as a giant airport; Porter Airlines execs would have to be pretty stupid not to want the entire thing, There’s space on the island to provide both exclusive private service and regular international flights. Look here below:

Here’s Pearson International the big airport on the outskirts:

And here’s Toronto Island (same scale):

*Please note the creepy similarity in shapes.

I played a fair bit of Simcity and such back in the day, so here’s what i would do with this game. First you carve the edge of the island nice and straight and flat- it’ll be easier to fit your buildings in. You can see that Porter has already started a good job of that up around the top left. Next fill in all the blue areas within your shoreline and erase the names- it’ll make the space much easier to work with. Then cover the entire space with slab concrete. You slam 4-5 Pearson size runways along the southern shorelines creating a giant V. Cram in a couple smaller runways in on the left side for private jets. Have the exclusive high end terminal on the left near the smaller jets. Larger regular class terminals go in the middle. Service buildings and hangers squeezed in throughout the middle and right sides. Build the bridge at the easiest, closest point to the mainland with a road traveling the entire length of the northern shore for access to all building and terminals. Then connect the water and gas pipes . . . . . . ..Sure the odd plane may hit pricey city installations, and there would be local opposition expenses. But these costs would be negligible in the face of having an operation this proximal to such a large city centre. It would make huge cash- you could so crush the blue guy.


Here is an online petition to close the airport– please sign and help!

Chair of Community Air, Brian Iler:

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46 Responses to “Close the Toronto Island Airport”

  1. David Pylyp Says:

    The Challenge with lobby-ing all the Municipal politicians about the Toronto Island Airport is that the Airport expansion and ongoing permission to operate is a federal issue.

    Condominium building were built with the airport in plain view and now people are petitioning and complaining about the airport’s prosperity.

    Maybe the unit purchasers should have considered moving slightly west to the Humber Bay Shore corridor of condominium development.

    While the article is quite detailed it does not discuss or consider the hubbub caused by the Toronto Island resident’s and their 99 year leases that were recently ratified.

    Since they are actually the closest residents why is there no protest from the island community? They actually live on the islands.

    David Pylyp

  2. remistevens Says:

    Hi David, thanks for the informed input- I see that you work in real estate. You’ve probably heard many opinions on this topic.

    Honestly, i was not aware that island residents were not opposing the recent expansion at the airport. I know if I lived next to an airport, and there was a scheduled increase in flight frequency, i would be unhappy about it. Seems pretty obvious to me. Maybe everyone on the island is deaf, maybe their 20 year fight for the leases has left them tired of fighting or maybe they feel they’ve gotten a good deal and are simply being compliant for now. Whatever the case, their quiet is surely not a good defense of the airport expansion. Living next to an airport that expands is a bad thing, i don’t care who you are.

    As for the condo owners. I wonder if their worry is the same as mine. An expansion is probably an indication of further expansion. As i’ve tried to show, it would be foolish of Porter not to want to continue growing- that’s what good companies do. When these people bought their units, maybe they were unfairly reassured that the airport would remain small and that expansion would not occur. Plans for the airport’s future were not necessarily in “plain view”.

    The island would make a very profitable giant airport. Its perfectly natural for Porter or another company to want the entire thing. Whether it takes 99 years or more or less is irrelevant- Toronto will still be here. Eventually, the whole thing will become an airport if expansion continues. Thats why i’ve suggested that the whole thing be scrapped now.

    Its very silly how a small channel of water creates a huge discrepancy on government jurisdiction. Its true that this is a federal issue even though I think it shouldn’t be. Thanks for bringing this important info to the discussion as well- I’m as detailed as i can be, but the best blog posts are the ones where concerned readers fill out the rest of the info.

    Thanks again

  3. James Pew Says:

    Expansion IS an indication of more expansion in a society obsessed with growth. Good post. Important Issue. Save Toronto Island.

  4. ponch58 Says:

    I went to a concert on Toronto Island a bunch of years back. It was a great time. I got rip roaring drunk.

    Even in my inebriated state, I probably would have noticed the deafening sound of a 747 roaring overhead drowning out one of the loudest rock shows I’ve seen.

    Toronto should take a page from Vancouver in relation to their waterfront. Vancouver has parks, beaches, small shops and modest housing.
    Toronto has crumbling highways, enormous condos and an ever expanding airport.

    Way to help the tourism, People!!

  5. TJ Says:

    The airport was opened in 1939. How many condo buildings were there in 1939?

    The airport is on water. Last I checked, the population floating in the middle of the lake was pretty small compared to the population around Mississauga/Brampton or Buttonville. And no – airplanes do not randomly veer off flight paths into city buildings. Airplanes approach from the east over industrial land and approach from the west over the vast openness of Lake Ontario.

    Porter flies Dash 8-Q400 turbo-props. Not noisy jets – Jets are not permitted to use the airport. The airport is also home to small private aircraft.

    Airline expansion does not equal airport expansion. Building a new terminal is much different than using land to expand the airport or build new runways.

    The city needs to worry more about shoreline green space than destroying a valuable asset on the island.

    I am fully against using up more green space to expand the airport and lengthen the runways – I will fully petition against that. But that is not what is happening.

    Let the airport continue to operate for the small aircraft that use it and scheduled Propeller-Driven Aircraft. Definitely petition the expansion of any runway or airport boundary. To improve green space how about increase landing fees and airport fees for passengers and use that money for lakefront green initiatives. Meanwhile lower Pearson Airport landing fees to something reasonable (instead of being the highest in the world) as an incentive to use it instead.

    The bigger petition should be to stop the building of condos along the lakefront, improve the trails and create more park space. That would be for the benefit of everyone.

  6. remistevens Says:

    Thanks TJ, great comment.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly about the lake front here, the condos are an eyesore. I would never live in one of those god-awful things and I certainly don’t believe developers should have been allowed to block the lake view of the entire city. I even agree that the condos are a bigger threat to our green space than the airport, I only reluctantly used their opposition to support this post which was all about the airport. I’ll put the anti-condos article in production right away.

    As for the airport:
    You can’t deny that its an eyesore as well. Its not a green space.
    Its hardly in the middle of the lake if you can get there in a dinghy.
    Planes have been known to veer off course, not here yet, but it happens.
    Props are quieter, but they’re still noisy.
    Its a valuable asset, but its not the city’s valuable asset.

    I just think that if we allow the Porter operation to become strong enough it is the natural progression of an effective company to expand and dominate. Bringing in jets and longer runways would be very profitable, expanding the existing operation has as well been profitable. Airline expansion does not equal airport expansion, but it follows the same principle of generating higher profit- why would we assume Porter is interested in one type of growth and not another?

    The re-working of landing fees is an excellent idea. It could both slow island traffic and build green space. . . .please write your local Porter executive.

    If you want to take up the cause for Toronto’s green spaces, the island airport is hardly your ally. Maybe its not the worst thing going, but its still bad. I think you understand this by your last comment. I agree that the “bigger petition” needs to focus on stopping the condo developers, but an opposition to the airport would benefit our green spaces also.

    Take care and thanks,

  7. John Spragge Says:

    I don’t know what you mean by “creepy similarity in shapes”. Airports have the shapes they do because the runways need to point into the prevailing winds, which in this part of the world blow from the southwest.

    As for the island airport, a vibrant multi-cultural city with highly advanced medical facilities and abundant economic opportunities depends on efficient transportation, and that means aviation. Airplanes bring people here from all over the world, and allow them to stay in contact with their familes back home. Aviation connect us with the business world. Medevac aircraft transfer patients, and transport blood, organs, and medical imaging supplies.

    If you don’t want to live in a vibrant and wealthy multicultural city, you might want to look into Kingston, which as a leisurely pace and a more beautiful harbour than Toronto. But if you want the advantage of life in Toronto, someone has to put up with air traffic. More people live right under and adjacent to the flight paths of Pearson International airport than live near Toronto City Centre Airport (the flight paths for City Centre Airport go over water). Concentrating the flights at Pearson would do a serious injustice to the people who live there.

    As well, closing City Centre Airport would destroy an important base for fixed-wing medevac and medical shipments. I know many people who want to close City Centre claim that Pearson can handle these flights perfectly well, but I can tell you the physics of flight make it unsafe to mix the smaller planes that carry patients and medical supplies with large transport jets.

    Closing Toronto City Centre Airport just doesn’t make sense.

  8. remistevens Says:

    hi John, thanks for commenting, well put.

    How airports get their shape is irrelevant. The entire island is a similar shape to Pearson and that is creepy when considering expansion.

    This isn’t an argument over medvac planes, its a nice thought, but its just not true. We’re arguing over whether it makes sense to maintain this airport so the financial elite can have more convenient flights.

    Airport expansion did not occur for medical reasons.

    Flight path, Flight path. Heard this one already. Its not the flight path that is the problem, its the proximity to a dense population. When a crash occurs, its not necessarily going to be on the perfect flight path- thats why its a crash.

    They do mix large and small planes at other airports. Is it worse to put small planes next to condos, or larger planes? Its a good question.

    Porter breaks its 11pm curfew constantly. They fly planes that we’re not approved in their agreement. They continue to get their way despite a public that obviously does not approve. This company cannot be trusted.

    I am yet to know a person who supports expanding that airport. There seems to be a very small group of vested individuals who present the pro expansion argument.

    I mean, unless you’re waiting for a liver or need to get to NY post haste, i can’t tell what your motivation is. Why would a private citizen want this thing expanded it makes no sense- are you honestly that concerned with medical transfers?

    Business, business, business. Lets sacrifice for business. Its always the same shit.

  9. remistevens Says:

    Hey John,

    So i went over and had a look at your blog as well. Lots of information, good writing.

    You’ve said yourself that medical trips are about 10 per day. That number is always going to be limited. Business travel however is pretty limitless. There is enough business traffic to make the entire island viable as airport space.

    Somewhere else in the GTA is replaceable. The island is not. Other big cities manage to function without an island airport, I’m sure Toronto wouldn’t collapse and become Kingston if we kept parkland as a park.

  10. John Spragge Says:

    Toronto City Centre Airport Flight paths present virtually no danger. To my knowledge, no commercial airplane in North America has ever veered half a kilometre off an approach or departure course and hit an apartment building. Not in New York, where planes fly down the Hudson and over the Bronx and Queen’s; not in Boston, where Logan International Airport sits just about where we keep City Centre Airport. Residents in the condo towers near the Western Gap have more chance of getting struck by lightning than of having an airplane crash into them. I don’t regard that low a risk as an appropriate basis for public policy.

    This issue really has nothing to do with any threat to existing parkland. Physical expansion of the airport will not happen because the city will never sell the necessary land, the current airport tenant, Porter, has half a billion dollars tied up in the aircraft best suited to operate at Toronto City Centre Airport, and expanding the runways to allow WestJet 737s to use it would put paid to Porter’s advantages. The Port Authority hasn’t the money. The airport has so little chance of physically expanding that we have better odds of seeing a volcano erupt at Yonge and Dundas.

    I care about the four thousand lives touched or saved every year by the medical evacuation and transport services more than I care about the more vocal members of one of the wealthiest and most subsidized communities in Canada getting exactly the urban environment they want, and I find it surprising and disappointing that you say you can’t understand why. I care about the availability of first rate medical care to the kids in Iqaluit, or the people in Sick Kids or Mound Sinai or TGH who need blood and organs.

    As for your question about mixing planes: the physics of flight makes it hazardous to mix small planes with larger ones, and when air traffic controllers have to do so, they must follow safety guidelines that have the potential to cause highly polluting delays. This explains why all North American cities of Toronto’s size, and may much smaller cities and regions, have reliever airports to deal with medical and educational aviation.

  11. remistevens Says:

    Ah ha! Your position is faltering and you’ve resorted to distortions. I didn’t ask you anything about aviation physics- my father was a pilot. I certainly said nothing about “not caring for sick children in Iqaluit”. I’ve also never suggested that crash risk is the ultimate reason to close the airport; i agree its a pretty insignificant risk (albeit a risk taken upon a denser population).

    Also, don’t pretend this is a debate about medical transfers. Its about business travel.

    Big cities without an island park somehow manage to provide small medical plane traffic without paving over irreplaceable island parkland (it wasn’t always an airport obviously). Other big cities mix planes, or build suburban reliever airports when necessary- 10 planes a day. You make it sound as though there is no non-island option for medplanes which is entirely false.

    So you don’t believe physical expansion would ever occur?

    If you believe a park and an airport are going to perpetually live symbiotically, that’s pretty naive. Eventually that island is going to be either a park or an airport.

    Not talking about today or five years from now, the island and the city of Toronto will be here far longer than any of us. So long as the island’s primary function is to provide for the massive business air travel market- its a guarantee one day that whole island will be an airport. Porter execs would be doing their shareholders a terrible disservice if they ignored such an obvious chance for growth. Sure they don’t have the money today, whatever. One of few airlines doing well these days, the cash and credit would come one day.

    Or we could adopt your thinking and assume that government policy never changes and that a company won’t want money, that sounds logical.

  12. remistevens Says:

    Companies grow, they’re designed to. Some company will always run the airport. A profitable entity designed to grow with exclusive access to a valuable growth opportunity will eventually consume it. Forever is a very long time.

  13. remistevens Says:

    You can’t keep watering weeds and assume they’ll leave your vegetables alone.

  14. John Spragge Says:

    If future generations conclude they need a major airport like Boston Logan on the Toronto Islands, they will build one. If (as seems much more likely) they don’t, they won’t. Closing or not closing the existing Toronto City Centre Airport won’t affect that choice. Let enough people in the future opt for a major airport on the waterfront, the gazebos and windmills would come down, engineers would restore the hangers and control towers to their original purpose, and airport construction would proceed. Nothing we can do will bind future generations, either way. Airports have no sinister will to devour their surroundings; nobody worries that Pearson will reach out and destroy Centennial Park in Etobicoke, or the Humber Woods Park in Malton.

    Today, Toronto City Centre Airport offers the best available site in the GTA for medical air transportation. Today, Porter demonstrates the way an airline can thrive in proximity to its market, using state of the art, economical and environmentally friendly turbo-prop aircraft. Shutting down this useful facility in an effort to bind our descendant to keeping Centre and Middle Islands as parks, something they will almost certainly do anyway, does not make rational public policy.

    Nor does it make good economic or ecological sense. The replacement reliever airport, which the GTAA badly wants to build, would cost over a billion dollars and actually impinge on the moraine. The argument that we must separate industrial uses from their surroundings, lest they infect neighbouring areas, leads directly to urban sprawl and its various unpleasant results.

  15. Rami Z Says:

    Starting a political party if anyone has access to a condo on the harbour front, so we could canvass. We’d be more than happy to put the closure of CYTZ on the top of our agenda.

    Thank you

  16. remistevens Says:

    Airports, including Logan, start small and are expanded. Are you actually suggesting its just as likely for a massive airport to be spawned out of nowhere as it is for an existing one to be expanded? Sorry John, that’s a load of BS.

    “Nothing we do binds future generations”? . . . !. . . .Come on. Every single thing we do binds future generations. You don’t believe in cause and effect? That’s an incredibly irresponsible attitude.

    Again pretending this is about medical planes. . . ..You know, we could land these 10 planes on Yonge street and it would be even closer to the hospital. . .Other big city’s hospitals do fine without an island airport.

    Fight sprawl by expanding transit, not by forcing bad combinations. As convenient as it might be for some, we don’t have oil refineries or dairy farms downtown either.

    . . . . .
    John, there is no such thing as an environmentally friendly aircraft.

  17. John Spragge Says:

    Simple fact: nothing we do binds future generations. The things we do affect future generations, but affecting does not mean binding. I agree that we should use aviation more carefully, and where appropriate we should build high-speed rail links, so our grandchildren will have less carbon to cope with. But do not indulge the illusion that keeping Toronto City Centre Airport will force future residents of this city to expand it, or that destroying it will prevent any future airport development. Future generations will make their own choices, and destroying Toronto City Centre Airport will not reduce the legacy of pollution they have to cope with one iota.

    If you really do not want to discuss the importance of Toronto City Centre Airport in the medical transportation system, we do not have to; I will just note that the geography of Canada makes medical evacuation even more essential than in other countries, and I do not want this city to have a medical transport system that other big cities manage to get by with; I want us to have the best medical transportation system we can.

    So, we need not talk about little Dushawn, sitting in sick kids waiting for a blood shipment so the doctors can give him the operation he needs. We can talk about Big Daddy Warbucks, taking off from his Toronto branch office to go to Ottawa and sell his latest mega-thrill-kill whiz-bang to the generals at DND. What about him? Well, closing Toronto City Centre Airport will certainly not stop him from flying. Big Daddy will just take himself up the 427, spewing pollution as he goes. And once there, he will almost certainly get on a less environmentally friendly plane, since the economics of flying out of Pearson favour noisier, more polluting, and less expensive jets, and fly off to Ottawa.

    In fact, closing City Centre Airport will not take a single passenger out of the air. It will not reduce emissions by one gram of carbon. It will simply move the pollution from a wealthy, articulate, and highly privileged community to the much less wealthy communities around Pearson. I will reiterate: the argument over Toronto City Centre Airport has nothing to do with the ability of business travellers to fly. Business people who consider it necessary to fly will do so in any case; they will not exchange a four and a half hour train ride for a one hour flight to avoid a trip to Pearson. The effort to shut down Toronto City Centre Airport only determines who will foot the environmental bill for the aviation that, ultimately, our city depends on. Will the people of Malton and Rexdale carry the burden of even more noise and pollution, or will a highly privileged downtown community carry a share of it as well?

  18. remistevens Says:

    Future generations are bound by the effects of our actions. Do something now, people gotta deal with it later- its how time works. I don’t like it either but we have a responsibility to the future constantly- and they are bound to put up with our choices.

    Future generations are at a greater risk of having a massive airport replace the island park if we allow a small airport to continue operating there.

    Maybe that’s what we want. Medical transfers and the Warbucks factor are great arguments for paving the whole island and building an 8 lane bridge to it. Here are some more: bringing more businesses to Toronto, convenience for politicians and diplomats, what about a futuristic landscape? What can I say, I’m a parks guy, I’d prefer it remain a park. I’d like to do everything possible to help ensure it remains a park including closing the existing airport.

    Airports expand, parks shrink. It happens everywhere a population grows. If there’s no airport there it’ll be easier for future generations to keep a massive airport out.

  19. remistevens Says:

    I hate the fact that I’m on side with a highly privileged downtown community on this one, but the island is irreplaceable. Expanding air traffic elsewhere makes more sense.

    Better than siding with the highly privileged community who use the airport and want a bridge to get there faster.

  20. Brian Iler Says:

    We’re encouraged to see the debate here – Mr. Spragge has devoted a fair amount of time to our blog, too – check it out at Lots of comment on current issues on the airport. And our website is a tresure trove of information on the issues:

    The fight to get it closed is far from over – the Toronto Port Authority continues to shoot itself in the foot, and is now totally identified with the Mike Harris-era Tories who dominate its board of directors.

    Devolution – the transfer of the TPA assets back to the City – is clearly on the agenda, and is supported by prominent Liberals. That will change the dynamics, and will make it much more likely that the current breaches of the tripartite agreement, that governs the airport’s operation, are finally addressed.

    Interestingly, Edmonton is well on its way to shutting down its “City Centre” airport – strong support from its City Council should lead to a decision to do so in July. See for the City’s extensive reports on the issues, many of which are fully relevant to Toronto.

    Brian Iler, Chair, CommunityAIR

  21. John Spragge Says:

    Airports do not expand on their own; people choose to expand them, or not to expand them. Future generations will only have a massive airport on the island if they choose to put one there, and not only can we not dictate their choices, I question the ethics of trying to. We make choices, including environmental decisions, in order to give the generations that will follow us the greatest possible freedom, not to prevent them making choices (again, that critical word, choice) we might not approve of.

    Airports do not expand. People choose to expand them. People sat down and made a deliberate choice to expand Malton. Every airport, every helipad, every runway on this planet represents a multitude of choices. Toronto City Centre Airport cannot not expand as much as a millimeter on its own. The people of this city, and the people who who inherit the city from its current residents will make the choice to expand it, or not. And although I can think of a hundred reasons they probably will choose not to, from the adequacy of the existing airport for its purpose, to the huge expense and difficulty of running a runway across several swampy islands, they will still have that choice if they consider it worthwhile.

    And meanwhile, if we make the unwise and doubtfully ethical decision to “protect” the next generation from making a choice we might disapprove of, we will have made some other choices. We will have chosen to have a less environmentally fair and responsible city. We will have chosen to give the GTAA another reason to push to build Pickering Airport (where a park really belongs). We will have opted to embark on the doubtful process of trying to turn a site made up of harbour-bottom fill and almost certainly bung full of most of the toxic heavy metals in the periodic table into a public recreation area. We will have chosen, once again, to concentrate our parks building obsessively on a small and very well-served area of the city. Which brings me to another point: I simply do not regard Toronto Island as an more or less valuavle or essential to this city than any oth the other thousands of acres of parkland; no more important than Centennial Park in Etobicoke, or Humber Woods, or the Malton Greenway, or Rouge River. This argument from the special value of a park on Middle Island, or Center Island, or Hanlan’s point does not convince me.

    In attempting to dictate the decisions future citizens make, we will have made some very bad ones. Toronto City Centre Airport fills its essential niche very well. Unless you have a better argument than the fantasy that the airport will behave like a living organism and devour its neighbours in their sleep, or that we can (or should) dictate the choices of future Toronto residents, I will continue to argue against the destruction of this useful resource.

  22. remistevens Says:

    Your logic makes no sense, no amount of lengthy discourse can save that. If we keep the airport or close it, we are limiting the choices of future generations.

    Everything we do affects the future. You need to read up on Causality.

    None of those parks are islands. Toronto island is different.

    Keeping an airport there will surely do wonders to clean up the pollution you mention. A great choice for the future. By that logic we might as well start dumping in the lake- its polluted anyways so whats the difference?

    Airports expand, its irrelevant who directs that expansion. They start small and get bigger. Are you denying that? I’ve said nothing about them being alive or evil or any of this other bullshit you keep trying to pin onto my argument.

    Its about probability. A massive airport is more probable if there is a small airport. And it won’t be the will of the people that would make it happen, it’ll be business pressuring a soft government.

    I want future generations to have a clean lake, so i don’t throw my trash there. I want future generations to have an island park, so i don’t support the operation of an airport there.

  23. remistevens Says:

    Porter is not an environmental organization. They are not a city planning organization. They are a business and businesses need to chase profits to exist.

    There is much more profit to be had on Toronto Island.

  24. remistevens Says:

    If you’ve been following this debate. Please scroll up to see a comment posted by Brian Iler chair of Community Air- the Toronto group that is leading the fight to close the airport.

    Sorry i missed this comment, it went into my spam queue.

    Sign their petition here if you want to help close this poorly placed airport.

    But thanks to John too for keeping this interesting and posing the other side.

  25. remistevens Says:

    Brian Iler chair of Community Air speaking about the airport:

    Video makes some great points not yet mentioned here:

  26. John Spragge Says:

    People choose to expand airports. People choose not to expand airports. Every airport that exists exists because someone chose to have it there. I really don’t understand what possible basis you think you have to dispute this elementary fact. To answer your question: yes, I specifically deny that airports expand, or that they start small and get bigger. Sometimes they start big and get smaller. Many, many airports have fewer runways than they started with. People responsible for airports choose (that word again) to close runways for a whole variety of reasons; because they want to free the land for something else, to save on maintenance costs, or other reasons. In all cases, choices made by people dictate the shape of an airport. In the case of Toronto City Centre Airport, the cost of adding a new and long runway over the existing park exceeds, by several orders of magnitude, the cost of rehabilitating the current airport structures after the closure contemplated by community air. Therefore, if business and politicians actually decided to ignore the huge costs of building a new runway on the island, closure of the existing airport would have no effect on their decision.

    As for your other comment, I still don’t buy your argument for the specialness of the island parks. Having them on an island, from my perspective, simply means that they sit at the extreme edge of the city, and that poor families have to shell out an extra nineteen dollars (based on a couple with two children) to get there.

    Finally, in the video you post, Brian Iler claims that flying Porter to Ottawa pollutes more than driving in an SUV. I’ve done the numbers, and I can’t see where he makes out a case for that. My figures, which I have checked quite carefully, indicate that flying from Toronto City Centre Airport pollutes less than driving in all but an average car, perfectly maintained, at or under the speed limit.

    I enclose the video reply to Mr Iler’s comments from an environmental equity perspective:

  27. remistevens Says:

    Wait, that was a reply to Iler’s video? Did i watch the wrong one? The only thing they responded to was the incredibly minor car vs plane thing. It was an afterthought, yet it seems to be the only thing they could contest so they featured it.

    -Nothing about more birds being killed on the island than any other Porter destination because of the bird sanctuary.
    -Nothing about helicopters handling all time dependent emergencies and their ability to land directly on the hospital.
    -Nothing about breaking noise violations
    -Nothing about the city not having control of its own land
    -Nothing about the greater safety risk caused by over water air accidents.
    -Nothing about proximity to a denser population
    -Nothing about improving rails to improve access to pearson
    -Nothing whatsoever about the Tripartite.

    The entire repetitious video relies on this silly everything should be everywhere argument. Dairy farms in the Eaton Centre, landfills on every street corner (wait we do have this currently), planes landing on Yonge street, auto factories in the subway, oil refineries in every town. Maybe we should all handle our own solid waste processing, you know, just to be fair. You consolidate messy industries so that everywhere doesn’t end up polluted. Would people living near Pearson even notice a %3 increase?

    You certainly don’t operate an airport in the middle of a park that benefits people city wide.

    Better production values though, I’ll give you that.

    Ok so now a response to your last comment.

  28. remistevens Says:

    Who’s disputing what here? Sure, a small group of wealthy individual dictate the direction of airports. I only said it was irrelevant.

    “Many many” means nothing. Do you believe “most” airports shrink? We’re debating in generalities here, generally an airport in the middle of a growing city is going to grow with it. Corporate entities seek growth, they have to. The directors rightly choose to chase profits. Any corporate entity owning the island airport would be stupid not to choose to expand to service Toronto’s massive commercial district’s transport needs.

    People with money make choices, the rest of us just do what we can. Force these rich businessmen to go to Pearson, see how long it takes them to use their influence and build more trains. The train vs plane debate is a washout. SUV vs Plane may be debatable, but that has almost nothing to do with anything.

    You still want to talk choices? Delete an airport, future generations can choose to build another. Destroy an irreplaceable natural environment, future generations have no choice but to deal with it. Yours is the side that limits future choices.

    So we’re back to this again: CEOs are more likely to choose spawning a massive airport from nothing than to expand from an existing airport. This time its because of cost. Apparently you think it would be more expensive to build runways over top of leveled re-enforced ground than mushy parkland. Come on, John, that makes no sense.

    A small airport can be expanded incrementally, meaning incremental expense. A massive airport spawned from nothingness needs an unbelievably huge investment all at once. Which seems more likely?

    Also, consider increments in regard to public opinion. More planes on the island, more pollution, less visitors. Less visitors, less public funding. Less public funding, less services. Less services, less people, less public funding etc. . . . .Its the old corporate trick. Trash neighboring property so that people stop caring about it, then take it over when the government no longer needs to make an issue of it.

    The last resort of the weak argument. Pick an insignificant debatable point and grossly overvalue its importance to polarize the argument. Then your weak argument sounds as good as the other guy’s. . . . SUV vs Plane. . . .Brilliant.

  29. John Spragge Says:

    To believe your argument, I would have to believe that Canadian governments from the municipal to the federal level would fold up like wet toilet paper if a small coterie of powerful CEOs demanded they lay a runway across Centre Island (never mind the engineering problems that would involve), but we can somehow close the airport over the objections of that same cabal. I’d have to say that you need to get out from behind SIM City more, and see how this city actually works. Nobody plans to physically expand Toronto City Centre Airport. Nobody wants to expand Toronto City Centre Airport. Nobody will make money by expanding Toronto City Centre Airport. The fleets of 747s on David Miller’s posters turned out to exist only in the same fantasy land as the plans to physically expand the airport.

  30. remistevens Says:

    So we needn’t worry about gov folding under the pressure of the small coterie of powerful CEO’s, but at the same time we need to realize that we could never close the airport because of their objections. Don’t worry about them, but accept that they’re running the show.

    Credibility stabs in place of arguments. . . . .and

    “Nobody will make money by expanding Toronto City Centre Airport”

    You’re a dreamer John, that island is a goldmine. We’ve given a corporation its foot in the door. There is all the time in the world to wait for a sufficiently distracted public and sympathetic government. . . ..Argue the benefits of a massive TCCA, sure, but don’t pretend that Porter execs are stupid and won’t want money.

  31. John Spragge Says:

    Your argument does not work in reverse, because we have made quite different arguments. I never said the public could not close the airport; I said we should not.

    As for the rest of your argument, do you have any evidence, that doesn’t come from SIM City, that Porter has any plans to ask the federal government to physically expand City Centre Airport, or that they would consider doing so? I have gotten tired of responding to outrageous fantasies (jets flying up the Don River VFR flyway, a cloud of 737s at Toronto City Centre Airport, a large buffer zone around Pearson Airport). So I refuse to take this argument seriously unless you produce some actual research.

  32. remistevens Says:

    Love to nit pick over insignificant details, more of the polarizing i mentioned. If you snoop around I’m sure you can even find a spelling error somewhere- lets make that the next major topic of debate.

    oooh and you’ve spiced it up with some more pointless credibility stabs. Just a suggestion, people also love to “prove” that I’m wrong because I’m a musician. . . . Its true, playing video games in high school has really put me at a disadvantage to the likes of you. I’ve piloted planes, I’m employed by one of Toronto’s largest public institutions and I’ve spent many years in university, but I’ll just hush up and let the big people talk.

    John, you’ve come here, i do not owe you anything. You’ve claimed that you’re some sort of environmentalist who supports having an airport in a park next to a bird sanctuary. Then you post a “response” video that makes almost no mention of the video it responds to. Further, you’d like us to accept that undeveloped property in the center of a giant city is not profitable, that companies don’t desire to expand into obvious new markets, that parks and airports can exist together forever despite pollution, that wealthy businesspeople don’t have influence over government and that future generations will benefit more from an elitist airport than from an irreplaceable natural environment. . . . .None of it backed up with anything factual, speaking only in generalities, but somehow i owe you proof.

    The problem with your position is that in the end it comes down to opinion. In your opinion, waterfront people should bear some of the brunt of necessary pollution. There is no right or wrong, its just your opinion.

    My position however relies on some basic irrefutable premises
    -Natural environments are irreplaceable and pollution causes them damage (Please see a grade 4 science textbook)
    -Companies seek growth through expanding into new and thriving markets (Please see 1st day of business school)
    -The island is a valuable growth opportunity.(Please refer to your own example: Logan city center airport, Boston)

    The part of my argument that is based on opinion is that I believe we need to do everything possible to protect that which is irreplaceable. The natural integrity of a park without airport pollution is safer than a park with airport pollution. In my opinion we need to do what is best for the park because the park is irreplaceable, unlike an airport.

    Another reasonable opinion would be that business is king, you know, maybe cash justly trumps nature. There is a decent argument to be made around keeping the airport for the sake of Toronto’s business class and luring more to come here. But you’re not even going for that. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you claim to be an environmentalist passionate about keeping an airport operating on a park island next to a bird sanctuary?

    Drop the BS, defend it as it is. Its all about profit and its an airline for rich people that’s trashing Toronto’s waterfront. . . .Maybe that’s what Toronto needs.

  33. John Spragge Says:

    OK, I’ll bite on the personalities… where have you piloted planes, and how many hours do you have? As for my claiming the title of environmentalist, I don’t. I have, on the other hand, done a lot of work for environmental justice.

    But let’s discuss the arguments, rather than the personalities. Since you have never met me, it makes no logical sense for us to speculate about each other.

    To answer the premises you claim I cannot refute:

    1) The airport does not sit on a “natural environment”; it sits on fill pulled out of an industrial harbour before the age of environmental regulation. It sits next to a natural environment (Toronto Island Park), but you have provided no evidence that the airport produces a level of local pollution that causes harm beyond that generated by the proximity of the city and and road traffic (this explains why I go to the trouble of tearing down the tired canard that airplanes pollute more than cars).

    2 a) Porter doesn’t own Toronto City Centre Airport. The federal government does. The federal government would have to agree to, and fund, any expansion. I see no evidence they will. The city owns the parkland on the island, and they don’t plan to sell. The city of Toronto claims that a million and a quarter people visit Toronto Island Park every year, and I have seen no evidence the launch of Porter service has affected these figures.

    2 b) Most businesses find an equilibrium with their market; for evidence, look at any street in Canada or most of the world. Porter has spent half a billion dollars on planes that give it an effective monopoly at the existing airport; why would they want a change to the airport that would let Air Canada and Westjet in to compete with them. Look on page two of the business textbook, where they stress the importance of good planning rather than blind adherence to growth.

    3) When Boston built Logan, they did not have a huge airport on the outskirts of the city with considerable additional capacity for heavy transport flights.

    As for your claim that I didn’t “answer” the community air video: it does not take a point by point refutation of an argument to answer it. My argument against closing the airport rests on prudence and environmental justice. And, by the way, your attempt at arguing against environmental justice depends on the suppressed correlative: we should dump pollution on the kids at Malton and Rexdale because because we don’t have a dairy farm at the Eaton Centre (which has nothing to do with pollution or environmental justice). We don’t have a dairy farm in the middle of the city, nor do we have a practical means of creating one, but we do have an airport that works, that prospers within its limits, and that provides at least some relief to the people of Rexdale and Malton (you make an offensive argument that people near Pearson will not notice a 3% difference; if true, people on the waterfront should not notice City Centre Airport, either.

  34. ponch58 Says:

    “People responsible for airports choose to close runways for a whole variety of reasons; because they want to free the land for something else, to save on maintenance costs, or other reasons.” This is a nice point but it really proves the opposite side.

    a: If the land is owned by the airport and a runway is closed to “free the land for something else”, this land is no longer a natural greenspace and has become a victim of indusry. It might as well remain a runway at this point.

    b: closed due to maintenence costs. If a corporation is losing profit due to the upkeep of one of it’s possessions, it will become a priority to make this possession more efficient and profitable. ie. expansion

    c: the closing of these said runways are at the sole discretion of the owner of the airport, not the public and is therefore not a viable argument.

    Furthermore, I fail to see how an airport locked on an island is benificial as a medivac facility. My sister is a paramedic and she is yet to inform me of any new medical vehicles that can drive on water. Seems to me that the only way to make Toronto “have the best medical transportation system we can” by use of the island airport would require a land bridge joining the two shores. ie. expansion

    And finally, while playing GTA (a video game for you educated types) I have learned that flying a helicopter from outside of a city to the interior takes no time at all. I’m sure that the heart in a cooler would be fine to make it from Pearson to Sick Kids with no ill effects.

  35. remistevens Says:

    hey John

    So you’re not environmentalists, but the name of your group is environmental justice? How manipulative. More polarizing. Pot smoking granola eating hippies might surf by the issue superficially and assume that there are two differing positions on what is best for the environment. It’s misleading. David Suzuki would not be on your side. There is an environment to be protected.

    Dad built and rebuilt his own (2-4 seaters), we had an airstrip in the fields behind the house. It was a long slow hill, so we took off and landed on the crest. Not relevant, but i noticed you were a pilot also. I don’t want to speculate about you either, but it is odd how you have so much time to dedicate to my blog and any other blog talking about the airport. It seems you’re either a flying enthusiast who feels threatened, financially involved, or strangely passionate about keeping airports in parks to spread out pollution.

    You know if the airport were just being used by hobbyists and medivac, many of its opponents would probably lay off. Making this environmental/aesthetic sacrifice to accommodate some wealthy businesspeople is what I have trouble stomaching. Put these rich pricks at Pearson, see if Porter still only fills %40 of its seats and see how long it takes this influential commuter’s group to get the trains extended so the poor people aren’t blocking traffic. Long term, overall, there will less pollution if we consolidate the air traffic to fill the planes and build the trains.

    1)Fine it sits on fill, another meaningless evasion. If there had been a bog there originally or something, nothing is there now so its not relevant. The pollution equation is incredibly simple: city pollution plus airport pollution is greater than just city pollution on its own. Its worse for the park, the park is an irreplaceable natural environment.

    2)Point is Porter owns usage of the airport. The pizzeria owner owns the pizzeria whether he rents or owns the building. Doesn’t change the fact that commuter planes are landing there. More pollution and noise detract from a park’s quality, lower quality means less people. You must have compiled some pretty weird stats if they dispute this.

    2b)One way or another if the park is in decline its future is in jeopardy. The problem isn’t necessarily Porter or its competitors. Airlines might compete with each other, but they all compete with parks. So long as we’re condoning commuter airline usage on the island we are condoning competition with a park.

    3)We’re much bigger than Boston.

    You’re seriously over complicating this. We don’t have the practical means to offer commuter airline traffic from the city centre either. Its showing, a park is being wrecked, birds are being killed.

    You’re also over complicating the math again. Going from %97 to %100 is an insignificant fraction. %0 to %3 is so massive an increase its not even a fraction. People in Rexdale won’t notice a few more planes added to the many they already have, but i guarantee birds and park visitors could tell the difference between planes and no planes.

  36. remistevens Says:


    thanks buddy, i wasn’t sure if it was just me and John listening by this point.

    Shrinking airports are surely a rarity, especially in a growing population. And the medivac excuse really doesn’t make sense does it? Yet it seems to be the first defense used by airport supporters.

  37. ponch58 Says:

    There seems to be an ongoing theme that if more planes were to be added to Pearson, the people living around it would be effected in a negative way. Seems to me that if someone moves next to a massive airport, they are doing so in order to fly on a regular basis. More planes means more departures. More departures means happier fliers. I don’t think the extra noise is going to matter to these people. They won’t hear it, they are on the plane.

    My cousin, a part owner of property guys in Cambridge, posted on hisblog a commercial for the necessity of real estate agents. This commercial depicts a man very angry about a plane in a descent shaking his house and destroying his stuff. Ridiculous? Yes. However, it might be a good caricature of the home owners on the island. People around Pearson aren’t concerned with the sound of a single plane. They can’t hear it over the 401, the 427, and all the other roads with cars on it moving around 24 hours a day. I’ve been to the island at night. It’s quiet. It’s so quiet, I felt bad about the sound my roller blades made as I skated around the “roads”. Saying that the people who live near Pearson would be just as effected by more air traffic as the island, is absurd.

  38. John Spragge Says:


    1) It doesn’t do to pit theory against observed fact. Airports close runways all the time without expanding; a few clicks of Google Earth, or some basic searches, will confirm this fact.

    2) I always find it amazing that people who routinely trash “industry” as some contaminant think that doesn’t mean trashing the workers who make industry happen.

    3) Toronto City Centre Airport has a vessel with a large flat deck, commonly called a ferry, which can accomodate an ambulance loaded with all necessary life support functions, and which can carry an ambulance to the mainland in about two minutes.

    4) You don’t learn anything from video games except how to play video games. In this case, the transit time from the nearest large airport suitable for locating the medevac (assuming we don’t build Pickering) namely Hamilton, exceeds the surface transit time from Toronto City Centre to the main Toronto hospital complex.

    5) Given the relative incomes of the people on the waterfront and near Malton, I strongly suspect that the waterfront (where households have, on average, twice the income of the people at Malton) plays host to a good few more frequent flyers than Rexdale or Malton.


    1) Your arguments have nothing to do with environmental protection. Closing Toronto City Centre Airport will not cut a single gram of GHG emissions. Indeed, acording to a recent report, Porter has already caused WestJet to cut back on flights. If you believe the IPCC’s estimates, Porter Turboprops have just half the global warming effect of WestJet’s jets. Closing TCCA would therefore considerably increase emissions. And by the way, hippies (the real ones, not people who live in million-dollar condos and kid themselves their organic fibre clothes mean anything) do care about environmental justice. That would include me; I have a long record of working for peace and justice, which includes environmental justice.

    2) The traffic that now uses Toronto City Centre Airport will inevitably affect parks: if not Toronto Island Park, then the Malton Greenway, Humber Woods Park, or Centennial Park in Etobicoke. You still have provided no actual evidence that Toronto City Centre Airport does any discernible harm to Toronto Island park, nor have you explained why you prefer the to the parks near Pearson. As well, the closure of Toronto City Centre Airport would considerably bolster the case the GTAA wants to make for building Pickering Airport, and building that airport really would impinge on the natural environment (specifically the morraine). And you have the point about ownership wrong: yes, Porter has the right to use the airport, but they have no ability to expand it (the concern, based on the scoring system in SIM City, that you expressed earlier). Just as a Pizzeria owner in a rented building has a right to operate there, but not to order the owner to turn it into a skyscraper.

    Remi and Ponch58:

    1) A whole theory (public choice theory) explains the basic flaw in the argument that the addition of 3% of traffic to Malton and Rexdale doesn’t matter. Put shortly, yes, a few people with significant privilege gained by at the expense of a larger number of people will have an incentive to fight for that privilege; that doesn’t make it right. The argument that we should direct wealth toward the privileged has had many forms throughout history, but it has always had a noxious core; some people matter; others we sacrifice.

    In any case, making full use of Toronto City Centre Airport has the potential to reduce noise spikes and pollution by 5% to 10% (the planes Porter flies pollute less and make less noise). Because noise spikes affect learning, a 5% to 10% difference can mean one kid in each classroom who might not otherwise make a success of school, and now has a chance. So, yes, that matters.

  39. remistevens Says:

    Ok, so lets see what we have tonight,

    John’s ponch response:
    1Airports apparently more frequently shrink again despite growing populations. love that one.
    2Workers don’t share the blame with bad management, sorry.
    3Ponch was obviously pointing at the stupidity of needing to ferry an ambulance, duh
    4Hamilton and TCCA are the only place you can store a helicopter?
    5Ah and then all the pricks flying Porter live in Rosedale.

    John’s Remi response:
    1)This paragraph is a doosy! Youre not an environmentalist, yet your group ‘environmental justice’, which is not an environmental group, has the best position available if you value the environment. So environmentalists should support the non environmentalist group, ‘environmental justice’ instead of the environmentalist’s side?. . . . .. The mental gymnastics going on to justify this very weird identity are giving me a headache. David Suzuki tried to turn the airport into parkland. Sorry, but If I’m going to seek out the best environmental option I’m probably going to listen to him before a group that uses the word “environmental” but is not environmentalist.

    2)Sorry John, common sense must prevail here. I think you would need to be the one to show evidence how an airport in a park next to a bird sanctuary isn’t causing damage to its natural surroundings. I was under the impression that airplanes caused pollution and that pollution is bad, maybe I’m wrong, sure.
    So if Porter and Westjet are flying partially filled planes thats apparently good for overall pollution? I’ve already mentioned several ways overall pollution would decrease and environmental issues would benefit from closure. . . .Pressure from rich flyers to build trains, consolidated travelers to fill planes, the added energy used to supply any industry on an island, and of course the bird sanctuary which everyone mentions constantly, but seems to be beyond your vocabulary..

    Another elitist low blow about video games or something. Must be in the Porter, “fake blogger handbook” to childishly attack credibility. The pollution distribution defense is so lame it can’t stand on its own.

    3)You keep trying to pretend that this is about one neighbourhood against another. People from across the city use the waterfront, nobody goes to the edge of Pearson for a picknic.
    Surely the kid trying to have a park day with his family is negatively affected also. You’ve said yourself that Porter’s planes are unobtrusive, so why would we worry about the kids in Malton being near them?

    If you want Toronto to have a beautiful airport-free waterfront where giant commuter planes aren’t thrashing through bird sanctuaries and trains are discussed by the wealthy as necessary. Sign this petition:

    If you think providing slightly more convenient air travel to wealthy businessmen is paramount to preserving our waterfront and saving bird’s lives. Or you think the people of Malton will suffer greatly from a %3 increase in “environmentally friendly” air traffic. By all means, continue to do nothing. Fly Porter, fuck the birds, fuck the waterfront.

  40. John Spragge Says:

    This has gone on a long time, Remi, and I have no more energy for it. You seem obviously unwilling to address the issue of environmental justice; indeed, even the words seem to give you a bad taste in your mouth. While you regularly indulge a petulant snarl against the supposedly “rich” flyers who take Porter, you seem unwilling to address the rights and wrongs of dumping pollution on a poor and young population to appease the most vocal members of a much wealthier population by the water. Nor do you seem to appreciate that chasing “industrial” uses out of places in favour of “natural” ones amounts to social cleansing.

    I’ll just finish by tearing down your last ad hominem. I don’t work for Porter. Never have. Quite likely never will. And for a good reason: Bob Deluce doesn’t need a blogger to speak for him. He has a very strong argument for the airport: his own success and that of the Q-400. An attempt to close the airport now would mess up one of this city’s few industrial success stories in the middle of a recession. The former head of the Toronto Port Authority sits in the federal cabinet, while David Miller stews in a garbage strike that makes him look like Mel Lastman with better hair. With all that going for him, do you really think Bob Deluce needs me to type for him?

  41. ponch58 Says:

    1) My point was missed on this one. Yes, airports regularly close runways. My point is not that they don’t. My point, is that once an area of land is buried under an enormous concrete slab, it is no longer a greenspace. Your claim that airports close runways to be used as “other things” is not a good argument in this context, as the greenspace is already destroyed, and cannot be replaced.

    2) I can’t believe that you would assume to shift the blame of the evils of industry on the lowly workers. This is cowardice at its extreme. If a factory worker is crushed due to a faulty shelving structure it must be his fault, right? Give me a break. I doubt you’ve ever worked a labourous job in your life. (How’s that for a credibility stab?)

    3) An enormous flat vessel, clogging the waterway. This is your environmental answer? I bet the ambulance idles the entire way across. Not to mention it ends up in the center of hell and hits deadly traffic as soon as landing. Maybe they should just pave a straight line right to the hospitals, fuck everybody else right? How can a helicopter from Pearson not be a better option?

    4) My point with the GTA example IS justified. Something with an unobstructed path that flies at a fixed speed, will ALWAYS be faster and more reliable than something driving at variable speeds with several obstacles (most of them of the human variety). It is also safer to have a helicopter flying 1000 ft above the city than a pissed off paramedic flying lights and sirens through Chinatown.

    5) I see. So you are looking out for the rights of the poor living around the airport right? If the Rosedale and Condo dwelling assholes didn’t have their own “private” airport to fly out of, they would be forced to live up near the airport wouldn’t they? Would this not cause condo’s and more expensive housing to be built in that area? Would the city not then make more of an effort to clean this area up, maintain the roads better, create more ammenities? Of course they would! I guess the poor couldn’t possibly benefit from the prices of their houses going up, and poor people definitely HATE driving on nice roads.

  42. remistevens Says:

    Despite his contention otherwise, I’ve written at length about John’s supposed “environmental justice” or more appropriately: “pollution re-distribution”. I’m as poor as anyone living near Pearson and I live no where near Toronto’s waterfront. According to John, wanting to remove an airport from my favourite park amounts to “social cleansing” you know, like genocide. I’m a nazi for wanting an airport free park and bird sanctuary. He’s tried to pretend this is about neighbourhoods and that only rich waterfront condo owners and the people of Malton are affected. People of all income levels use the park. It isn’t about the condos. Forget the condos. All the environmental concerns remain, rich people will continue to skip out of town on planes filled to %40 capacity buzzing through a bird sanctuary and deafening park visitors.

    The problem is, what Bod Deluce, owner of Porter, has going for him has nothing to do with public opinion. Yes John his company is doing well financially and he’s got a monopoly, he has unfair access to the federal government, he’s getting away with using planes which do not meet local bylaws without punishment. . . . .. Exactly why he needs fake bloggers. Profitability, strong government ties and a license to cheat are not a good for public relations if you’re operating a polluting industry. People rightfully get suspicious and ask hard questions like “is it worth sacrificing a park for the sake of profits”.

    Enter fake bloggers. John has been at this for years, blogging about the importance of the airport through both tough and easy times for Porter. There is a decent argument to keep the airport open for profit’s sake, but that type of argument is often unpopular with the average person, so instead they schemed up this “environmental justice” argument. But the argument is such a stretch its hard to believe. They label themselves with the term environmental, yet they’re passionate about keeping an airport operating in a park next to a bird sanctuary against the wishes of David Suzuki. Porter got greedy and picked a position that’s just too hard to believe as a justification for the airport’s existence.

    A group of people who are not environmentalists, but label their group ‘environmental’ and offer the public the best environmental solution- better than what prominent environmentalists are saying.

    ‘Justice’ for this fake group means forcing pollution to be distributed equally to all areas geographically. Oddly though, you go back to John’s blog and there is nothing about what Toronto does with its trash. Shouldn’t this be an even bigger issue for him? They’ve been trying to build an incinerator in my home town for years to burn Toronto’s trash, and how is it socially just that we do all our dumping on the people of Michigan? Its a much more controversial issue of “environmental justice”, but John is only passionate about keeping that bird sanctuary airport open. I’ve respectfully stayed quiet as he’s attacked my credibility, but enough is enough, this guy obviously has another motivation. Someone who actually believed in environmental justice wouldn’t waste so much time on one issue and have nothing to say about another bigger issue. John might just be a flying enthusiast who wants to keep his local strip, but its more likely he works for Porter. No one could have time to go on at length about this issue on crappy little blogs like mine without earning a pay cheque.

    Please have a look. John’s arguments have involved mocking my credibility and evading issues. The video he displayed as a “response” replied to nothing in the video it responded to. I ask him to address this and he tells me a point by point refutation is unnecessary- another evasion. No one is looking for point by point, but maybe responding to even one point might be nice. I’m still convinced that the term “bird sanctuary” is beyond John’s Porter approved vocabulary. Judge for yourself: Do you believe there is a grassroots environmental movement comprised of people who are passionate about justice and keeping an airport open in a park next to a bird sanctuary? You can see why i might be suspicious.

    Scroll up to see the two videos. One is amateurish in video quality, but full of information and issues concerning everything from usage to environment and legalities. The other video is contrived to look amateurish, addresses only its own core argument over and over, and only mentions a meaningless piece of trivia from the first video. You’d think a “response” video might actually respond to something- all flash with no substance. Only a corporate entity could come up with this and think it passes as home made. Looked and sounded strangely similar to a Stephen Harper’s, ‘sittin with his kids’, advertisements.

    I could believe a group of business types might argue for the airport’s existence, but environmentalists, its preposterous. Porter airlines grabbed a vaguely positive term and haphazardly attached it to the premise “keep the airport open”. . . .around the board table: “lets see how can we make this PR group work? Got it! Lets pretend that moving %3 of air traffic to Pearson will do a great disservice to the poor, there must be a school or something nearby Pearson we can appeal to.”. This way, if someone who favours environmentalism surfs by the issue superficially, they might believe there are 2 good environmental options here. When you have a lousy argument you need to polarize the issue so that it seems as though its 50/50. . . .Its not complicated at all people, David Suzuki wants this airport in a park beside a bird sanctuary shut down, so do i. It is the actual environmentalist’s position, obviously. . . . . .. Its an airport in a park.

    Personally, i couldn’t care less what happens to Porter Airlines. They’re not a huge employer and their client base is made up of rich businessmen. As long as this pollution industry is being permitted to operate on our waterfront, waterfront revitalization seems unlikely. Which is what Porter wants. They would prefer to trash the area taking away its natural appeal, that way when we all stop caring about it, they can start using their money and influence to expand the airport physically as well. Companies strive to grow and the island is a valuable growth opportunity.

    The short haul flights they provide are a band-aid solution, so long as Toronto’s business class is skipping out of town on high polluting planes there will be no pressure from people who matter to build low polluting trains and find real environmental solutions to transportation needs.

    If you’re leaving I’ll reiterate my simple position one last time. I want to protect our remaining urban green spaces. There is an amazing island park in Toronto containing an airport which handles %3 of all air traffic- wealthy fliers only, planes filled to %40 of capacity, breaking noise violations and ripping through a bird sanctuary. I want this unnecessary airport closed for the park’s sake. please sign this petition if you want to help: online petition to close the airport

  43. Alex Says:

    are you an alias for david miller or a Toronto island squatter? have a look around at the condos going u, they are more a threat than any small airport. with buttonwood closing Toronto island is needed. try thinking of the overall picture before concerning yourself with your own selfish leftist views.

  44. remistevens Says:

    I’ve already agreed that the condos are the biggest hindrance to waterfront revival.

    Going to the island for picnics sometimes is squatting i guess. Its very selfish of me to want to keep a park open, I should take the altruistic business view that favours profit over nature.

    Ripping through a bird sanctuary for cash isn’t selfish?

    The airport is not needed.

  45. Serge Says:

    Miller never tried to close the airport, these Porter employees can’t even get their insults right.

    Its selfish to fly heavy polluting short flights out of a green space. The damn things are less than half full, they’re absolutely NOT NEEDED.

    Get your head out of your ass Alex.

  46. remistevens Says:

    It sucks to be right, expansion, expansion, expansion. Now that the big airlines are in there, its really all over…. Gotta admit though,i haven’t bothered going to the island since i wrote this….Its been too loud and stinky for me for some time. That’s the trick isn’t it? Wreck something enough and the public won’t care anymore whether you take it.

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