Opponents ready to fight Porter's proposal for longer island runway
Published Wednesday, September 4, 2013 2:00PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 4, 2013 4:42PM EDT
Porter Airlines is looking to expand its Toronto island airport even further into Lake Ontario than originally proposed.
In June, the airline said it wanted to extend the main runway of Toronto's Billy Bishop airport by an additional 168 metres at each end. Porter now wants to add 200 metres at each end.
Opponents of the expansion call the new proposal a “slap in the face.”
The city is holding a public consultation meeting on the project on Wednesday afternoon.
There will also be a town hall meeting on Sept. 12.
“To release this less than 24 hours before the first public consultation is, from our perspective, a slap in the face of due process,” No Jets T.O.’s Anshul Kapoor told CTV Toronto.
Porter says the additional runway space is needed to accommodate bigger planes that can fly directly to destinations like Los Angeles, Florida, Calgary and the Caribbean.
The company has already placed a conditional order with Bombardier for 12 CS100 jets, with 18 options, worth about US$2.08 billion.
In addition to longer flights, Porter CEO Robert Deluce says the longer runway would also cut down on noise, since planes won’t have to use as much energy during takeoff.
“It allows for certain noise abatement procedures for having to use less power at takeoff and, of course, the runway extension itself acts as a certain breakwater and allows less sediment build up and probably less wave action in that western channel,” Deluce told CTV Toronto.
“So, boaters will probably be pleased with that one.”
Kapoor doesn’t buy it, calling it just another attempt to pave even more of Lake Ontario.
“Really? Is that what we're looking at? An extension into the water, annexing 1,300 feet – actually upwards of 1,300 feet – and that would make boating better for Torontonians?” he said.
“This is our lake. This is not Porter’s lake. This is not Toronto Port Authority’s lake. This is our lake and we will protect it.”
In a statement released Wednesday, Porter clarified that both runway options are acceptable.
"The 168 metre proposal is still a very good option and one that we support,” Deluce said in the statement. “The 200 metre option is another scenario that provides other benefits we believe are worth considering."
In response, No Jets T.O. accused Deluce of backpedalling, saying Deluce is attempting damage control as their plan faces increased scrutiny.
“It’s clear that Porter didn’t vet its original proposal properly,” the group said, before reiterating opposition to the plan.