Thank you and welcome to the 2010 annual meeting of the Toronto Port Authority.
This is my first Annual General Meeting with the TPA and I’m looking forward to hearing your constructive comments and questions a little later on this morning. After seeing yesterday’s spectacular World Cup Final victory by Spain / The Netherlands, I don’t think we’ll be able to offer anything as dramatic. That is definitely hard to top. But I do think we have a lot of good news to share with Torontonians. We are on a path toward achieving our shared goal of a prosperous, enjoyable waterfront for everyone to enjoy. I want to start out by saying I believe today’s Toronto Port Authority is markedly different from the one that existed just a few years ago. Despite the challenging economic climate the TPA is now earning a respectable and indeed predictable and consistent return for its shareholders – you - the taxpayers of Canada. In 2009, the TPA reported net income for the second year in a row, led by continued growth in revenues from commercial flight activity at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
In a few moments, our Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Alan Paul will discuss in detail our past year’s financial performance. It has taken a lot of work, strategic foresight, investment, and dedication among all our staff to make the TPA a profitable, sustainable business enterprise. We are now in a stronger position to invest our collective resources in order to keep the waterfront vibrant and healthy for future generations. We are also proud to acknowledge the funds and opportunity that flow back to Torontonians through the TPA. In 2010, we will provide the City of Toronto and the federal government with approximately $3 million in payments, royalties (i.e. shareholder dividends) and other charges. Mr. Paul will further address this aspect of our financial picture. But this is a new port authority in other ways. I was appointed President and CEO of the TPA last December. I saw great potential in this organization, because it was entrusted with important assets such as the Port of Toronto and the Billy Bishop Airport, and because there were so many other potential stakeholders and partners that wanted to achieve the same objectives, i.e.:
• assured economic prosperity for future generations, and
• protected and enhanced public recreational space, unique throughout the world.
I come to my new responsibilities at the TPA as someone who knows a few things about international trade and shipping, aviation, and intermodal transportation. I have had the privilege of having worked in major port cities across the USA, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia as a senior manager and transportation executive. I have conceived and overseen the successful launch of strategic infrastructure. I have built strategic alliances around the world. And I have helped establish products and services as global market leaders.
Above all, I have seen how great waterfront cities work. My wife Martha and I relocated to Toronto in 2000, believing from experience this was the best city in the world to live and raise a family. We believe in Toronto, and its future. As a born and bred Montrealer, however, I’m sorry to report …. I will remain a Habs fan.
And in my choosing this role, clearly I believe in the TPA’s ability to help build Toronto and its future for our children. Working together, collectively, we all win. I have some regrets.
I regret the acrimonious feuding that has taken place between the TPA and some nearby resident s and some City Councillors. I support the strategic decisions that have been made by the TPA to improve and enhance Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport beginning in 2003. However, I believe the TPA should assume some responsibility for inadequately communicating and consulting with nearby residents in making those decisions. And I have been working to fix this.
I regret falling short in our obligation to communicate our priorities more effectively to our neighbours in the harbour community in the past. I would like you to know that we are taking important steps to improve our outreach and consultation practices, beginning with the Billy Bishop Airport Consultative Committee.
The airport consultative committee was an important recommendation from our Jacobs Consulting Noise Management Study of ambient noise at the island airport. It’ll allow a broad spectrum of Torontonians affected by the airport’s operations to come together, exchange information, and advise the TPA on airport related issues.
The Proposed Framework for the consultative committee has been posted on our website since June 7 for comments and feedback. We’re pleased to report that the framework has been greeted positively.
Our airport director Ken Lundy will have more to report on the committee in a few moments. But I hope that this – and other – measures will help to improve the TPA’s relationship with others in the harbour community. I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize Mr Lundy. He has done an extraordinary job in the airport. I have though recently asked Ken to take on a new and critical role at the TPA, and I am pleased to announce, here in this forum, that he has accepted the position of Director of Infrastructure, Planning, and Environment for the TPA.
He will lead the construction of capital and environmental projects that we believe will having a defining legacy on Toronto’s future prosperity, and its citizens quality of life. Thank you, Ken. We will be soon announcing Mr Lundy’s replacement as head of the airport. In January, we were pleased to take delivery of a new ferry, the Marilyn Bell I.
The name was chosen by Torontonians in a contest to provide a namesake that reflected the values of perseverance and dedication. I cannot think of a better personification of these values than Ms. Bell, the first person to swim across Lake Ontario in 1954. I was thrilled to meet her in person at the naming and vessel launch- she’s quite the character, and an inspiration.
About 770,000 passengers used the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport in 2009, with about 1.2 million passengers expected in 2010. The TPA accepted a Jacobs Consultancy recommendation to propose a 202-slot limit at the airport. This cap is within the limits defined by the Tripartite Agreement with the City of Toronto and the federal government, and perhaps restricts the airport’s future growth. But it respects the issues of congestion raised by the report , especially on the land side, and therefore respects the concerns of our neighbours.
As you may know, we are being targeted for criticism by certain airline carriers for not expanding slots further. With respect for our neighbourhood stakeholders, this is criticism we can live with. The TPA must improve access to the airport and remove congestion in order keep it running efficiently, thereby gaining a reputation as one of the finest city centre airports in the world. Quite simply said: if we are going to have a city centre airport, for the benefit of the City, let’s make it the very best it can be.
According to an annual poll the TPA conducted in May and June, 56 per cent of Torontonians said they support a pedestrian tunnel to the island airport paid for by passengers through an Airport Improvement Fee. John Wright of Ipsos Reid will tell you more about that in a moment. But it is clear that a majority of people support improving access to the airport, and that is why we are moving forward on a proposed pedestrian tunnel underneath the Western Channel.
And understand -- this is a pedestrian tunnel only. It will not be able to carry vehicles. It will be paid for by passengers. And it will be both functional, and beautiful, and something Toronto can be proud of. The TPA is currently conducting a full Environmental Assessment – or EA -- of this project. Let me assure you that we are going well beyond our obligations under the EA statutes required by federal agencies. We will be studying the cumulative impact of this tunnel not just on the airport, but on those who live and work nearby.
We are pleased to report that Toronto’s Board of Health has acknowledged our EA criteria for the tunnel. We look forward to working closely with the Board of Health and other stakeholders to make sure this project is considered a crucial and compatible piece of transportation infrastructure. I want the pedestrian tunnel – and everything about the Billy Bishop airport – to be compatible with a waterfront that everyone can enjoy, however they wish to enjoy it.
Turning the page
Let’s talk about our relationship with the City. I‘m committed to making the TPA a full, enthusiastic and energetic partner with the City of Toronto in developing a clean, green waterfront. Some people dwell on our historical differences with the City. But my meetings with key officials tell me clearly, we share many goals, both in economic development and in the sustainable development of the waterfront.
The TPA and the City made an important step forward in December, 2009, with the ratification of the “Macro Settlement Agreement.” This agreement transfers an 18.4 acre site owned by the TPA to the City in the East End for one dollar. The site will be used for a proposed streetcar maintenance facility that is crucial to realizing the vision of expanded Rapid Transit lines throughout Toronto, known as Transit City.
I can assure the City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, Invest Toronto, The Toronto Board Of Trade, The Toronto City Summit Alliance, and others, and all neighbourhood groups and stakeholders that they have a reliable partner when it comes to making the waterfront – and all of Toronto – a place for all of us to live, work and play.
Most importantly, the new TPA that I am leading will be committed to leaving the waterfront a better place than we found it.
The TPA is embarking on a long-term effort to make it a leader in environmental responsibility that other organizations can look to for inspiration and positive results.
All of our employees will be called upon to make environmental protection and conservation a key part of their everyday activities.
In doing so, the TPA will set goals and establish a strong foundation of business principles grounded in environmental sustainability principles. We are focussing our attention on four core areas that will not only improve the quality of life and commercial viability of the waterfront, but also serve as a blueprint for others:
1. Air, water and wildlife protection and enhancement;
2. Waste reduction leading to a ‘Zero Waste’ output;
3. Greenhouse-gas emissions reduction through fuel and electricity efficiency and the use of renewable energy;
4. Co-operation with Toronto’s harbour community and environmental stakeholders.
I’m pleased to report that we are well on our way toward fulfilling our sustainability mission, with a wide range of initiatives launched over the past 12 months. This includes an agreement to purchase all of our electricity – about 10,295 megawatt hours a year – from 100-per-cent green sources through Bullfrog Power. In doing so, the TPA has become one of the biggest consumers of renewable power in the country, buying as much as the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario.
This includes a commitment to offset 100 per cent of the greenhouse-gas emissions of all commercial aircraft using the Billy Bishop airport through a program that will see the offsets invested in local environmental enhancement projects. (Carbon Zero announcement)
This includes a $1 million investment in 2010 to create protective islands and wildlife habitats at Tommy Thompson Park on the Leslie Street Spit.
This includes using non-toxic green lubricants and fuels where possible in TPA vehicles and machinery.
This includes promoting and enhancing the shuttle bus links between the Billy Bishop airport and the downtown, with the goal of establishing a TTC link to the airport, and greater use of the public transit system. And this includes careful and ongoing monitoring of these efforts, including implementing best practices from similar organizations around the world. There is a lot we can learn from the environmental protection measures taken at airports such as Copenhagen, Stockholm, Geneva, and London City Centre.
Becoming a leader in environmental responsibility is a journey, indeed a journey that has no end. Our commitment is anchored in the knowledge that these initiatives are crucial to building the kind of waterfront area that Torontonians want: clean, green and suitable for living as well as working.
Port of Toronto and Outer Harbour Marina
It has been a chaotic and difficult year for the Port of Toronto, as it has been for other ports around the world in these difficult economic times. The future, however, looks bright. We have a consistent range of cargo like sugar and concrete. But we have a real opportunity to rebrand and revitalize the Port as a place where global businesses can take advantage of our efficient and environmentally sustainable intermodal transportation services. The cargo that moves through our Port every year replaces 60,000 trucks needed to transport it on our congested highways. The opportunities at the Port surround supply-chain management and scheduled short-sea shipping services to other destinations in the St. Lawrence Seaway. To succeed in the future, we must be more than a place where you can just ship cargo. We have to be a business that delivers the complementary services that motor-vehicles and cargo airplanes can not. The Port is also a place where Toronto welcomes the world. Two weeks ago, we played host to the Clelia II, a luxury cruise ship plying the Great Lakes. Next year, we are scheduled to host the Prince Albert II, a 6-star cruise ship operated by the SilverSea Cruise Line. As the City gears up for its moment in the spotlight – the 2015 Pan American Games – the Port of Toronto and the International Marine Terminal will play a bigger role in welcoming visitors. The TPA is ready, working closely with Tourism Toronto to put our best face forward to welcoming the world.
The Outer Harbour Marina doesn’t get much attention at these Annual Meetings, but it too has a bright future ahead of it. The TPA sees an opportunity to expand the marina in the near future to accommodate growing demand for a top-flight fresh-water marina on Lake Ontario.
It’s possible the Outer Harbour Marina could be the biggest fresh-water marina in North America.
Finally, we are excited to announce that 2011 will be the 100th anniversary of the Toronto Harbour Commission/Port of Toronto. In the coming months, we will be announcing some wonderful community events for the whole family to enjoy leading up to the Centennial. The Port’s Centennial marks an important milestone. In 1911, when the Toronto Harbour Commissioners received their initial charter, Toronto was not even close to the mecca of culture, finance and technology that it is today.
What did the waterfront look like in 1911?
If you looked out into the harbour from the present site of the Westin Hotel....well, for starters, you’d be in water over your head, and you’d have a good 200 meters to swim to shore;
-The Portlands was a sewage and cow manure filled swamp;
-The Don River was an open sewer and uncontrolled flood plain that threatened many neighbourhoods every spring.
-The Toronto Islands had an established and vibrant community of fishing huts, cottages, and even an amusement park at Hanlan’s Point.
– A rambunctious kid by the name of George Herman Ruth – better known as Babe Ruth -- hit his first professional home run in 1914 at Hanlan`s Point Stadium with the Providence Grays. They beat the Maple Leafs 9-0 that day. (No need to go there....)
Extraordinary: how far this great city has come. As unique and valuable managed assets, the Port of Toronto and the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport will be platforms that help secure our prosperity for another 100 years.
And to protect our prosperity, we must now focus on the challenge of environmental responsibility. That is what Torontonians want us to focus on so that we can achieve our shared goal of building a clean, green waterfront.
When I look to the future, I see the TPA and the City of Toronto as visionary partners developing distribution, supply chain, and transportation services for a city of 8 million people; a valuable local connection to a viable marine highway, feeding our domestic and international trade; and a uniquely valuable flight hub providing Torontonians with leisure and business connectivity that is the envy of North America. And I see a consistency of environmental responsibility and initiatives, to protect our prosperity, to afford us an enviable lifestyle, and to assure each and every one of us, and future generations, will enjoy a vibrant waterfront.
I’d like to take the opportunity to expressly thank the TPA Board members for their tireless work and counsel during the past year, as I would like to equally thank our key stakeholders, City and neighbourhood community partners for their input and in their meetings with me and the TPA management team. I’ve appreciated your candour and willingness to turn the page and begin a new chapter.
Thank you for listening. I would like to now introduce John Wright, Senior Vice President of Ipsos-Reid, to provide a summary of our 2010 opinion survey.