Toronto (May 21, 2013) – On May 7, 2013, Toronto City Council formally requested the assistance of the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) in support of the City of Toronto’s assessment of the April 10, 2013 announcement and application by Porter Airlines for amendments to the Tripartite Agreement that governs the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA). In light of the potential technical ramifications of the Porter proposal to extend the existing BBTCA 8/26 runway by a total of 168 metres at each end, the TPA has deferred its May 2012 project to undertake subsurface lakefilling in the Marine Exclusion Zone (MEZ) just east of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport pending the assessment of runway extensions that has been requested by the City of Toronto.
The MEZ proposal, for which TPA conducted a comprehensive environmental assessment in 2012, was designed to act as a physical deterrent to marine vessels. As such, neither the MEZ environmental assessment nor the technical specifications contemplated the use of the new lakefill foundation for any type of runway extension. It is currently unclear if this new lakefill foundation, once the MEZ enhancement project was completed, would later be able to support the physical attributes of any runway extension, including the one proposed by Porter Airlines.
“As we advised on several occasions, the enhanced MEZ project was unrelated to the recently-announced Porter proposal,” said Geoff Wilson, President and CEO of the TPA. “Now that City Council has voted to engage independent consultants to analyze the Porter proposal, it makes sense for the TPA to defer the MEZ enhancement project.”
The MEZ proposal explored the placement of fill material in a site of approximately 80-by-100-metres within the area currently designated a Marine Exclusion Zone (MEZ). This zone is in place to prohibit the entry of marine vessels due to their proximity to flight paths. Under this 2012 proposal, the lakefill material would remain a half-metre below the lake surface to act as a physical deterrent to boaters, such as is already the case at the west side of the airport where shallow waters naturally exist. TPA had proposed using clean fill from the pedestrian tunnel construction currently underway at Billy Bishop.
About the Toronto Port Authority (www.torontoport.com)
The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, the Port of Toronto (Terminals 51 and 52), and Toronto's Outer Harbour Marina. In addition to moving more than two million passengers through the airport in 2012, the Port Authority provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port, and owns and operates Toronto’s largest freshwater marina. 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.
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