Toronto (December 29, 2011) – The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which is owned and operated by the Toronto Port Authority, is expected to surpass its estimate of 1.5 million passengers for 2011, an increase of 37 per cent over 2010, and double the number of passengers it served in 2009.
Geoff Wilson, President and CEO of the Toronto Port Authority, said that the numbers really demonstrated that Torontonians and visitors alike consider the airport a great asset for the city.
“Together with our airlines – Porter and Air Canada - we have made great strides in meeting customer demands for a quality travel experience,” Wilson said, noting that earlier this month, CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg referred to Billy Bishop on CBS’ The Early Show as “one of the coolest urban airports in the world.” Wilson also said the Port Authority is on track to have its most profitable year ever.
In addition to meeting passengers’ needs, the TPA introduced a range of improvements for the benefit of the local community, including quarterly community consultation meetings, establishing a new noise management program with dedicated staff, state of the art technology to track aircraft noise, and the completion of an environmental assessment and final design for noise mitigation barriers on the island side of the Western Channel. Work on the noise barrier is slated to start in January 2012.
The TPA also finalised plans to build a public-private pedestrian tunnel, having received green lights from the municipal and federal governments in July and October, respectively. In November, the TPA announced that Forum Infrastructure Partners, which includes construction experts PCL, design experts Arup, and tunnelling experts, Technicore, was the preferred proponent to design, build, finance, maintain and operate the tunnel. Work on the tunnel, which is now expected to stretch 800 feet from the mainland under the Western Channel directly to the Airport Terminal building, is scheduled to begin in spring 2012.
The TPA reached agreement with the City of Toronto to include the City’s important replacement utility mains as part of the TPA’s pedestrian tunnel project. This represents another example of the ongoing partnership between the two public bodies, whereby the City will use the TPA tunnel to install its own infrastructure, thereby saving City taxpayers millions, and eliminating duplication of construction work in the busy downtown core.
The TPA invested $10.6 million in capital projects in 2011, including a phased $1.9 million investment in new docks at the Outer Harbour Marina, and $7.1 million in airport improvements.
With the City of Toronto and the Toronto Portlands Company, the TPA has been working to upgrade the extensive railway link servicing the Port of Toronto. Hundreds of rail ties have been replaced, drainage has been improved, resurfacing of the track bed has been undertaken, and improvements were made to the rail tracks and switches.
In addition to extensive community outreach, the TPA introduced a new website in July 2011, with easy-to-find information for the general public and TPA stakeholders and users.
The Port Authority also started the process of finding a joint venture development partner, to develop the landmark site at 30 Bay Street. The 1.8 acre property is anchored by the historic Toronto Harbor Commissioners building at 60 Harbour Street, which will be carefully preserved. Next steps on the project include a careful review of a short list of established, potential partners early in the new year.
To mark its 100th anniversary in 2011, the Toronto Port Authority held events designed to reach out to the Greater Toronto Area. These included the popular heritage event, Doors Open Toronto, in May, and Toronto’s first ever Sail- In Cinema movie festival in August, which featured a unique two-sided movie screen mounted on a floating barge in the harbour so people on land and boaters could enjoy their favourite maritime movies at the water’s edge. The TPA also expanded its charitable donation and sponsorship programs focused on the waterfront. In addition to acting as lead partner on Harbourfront Centre’s Hot Spot Summer, the TPA funded scholarships for George Brown College students, an expanded arts management program at the Harbour front Community Centre, the Disabled Sailing Association, and the Canadian Art Foundation’s annual Art Hop.
In reviewing the past year, Board Chairman Mark McQueen, said he was pleased that the Port Authority was able to make headway on all of its key business initiatives, while achieving its highest profit level in history. The construction partnership with the City of Toronto allowed Toronto taxpayers to save millions in watermain and utility costs, while effectively managing continued growth at the airport.
“Our centenary year was memorable as much for the way in which we conducted business as for the successful business outcomes we achieved,” McQueen said.
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Media Contact: Suzanna Birchwood, 416 317 6405 (mobile)
Further information about the TPA is available at www.torontoport.com