Toronto (February 21, 2012) – The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) today announced that it has implemented a key recommendation outlined in the 2010 Jacobs Consultancy Report with the installation of a state-of-the-art aircraft noise barrier at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
The TPA engaged Jacobs to undertake a wide-ranging ambient noise study between 2008 and 2009. To ensure the highest level of public participation, the TPA formed the Noise Management Study Advisory Group consisting of local residents and City of Toronto area Councillors. The TPA held public meetings in 2010 to discuss and gain feedback from the public on the recommendations of the report, focussing on the following key areas:
- Establishment of a permanent community advisory committee dealing with airport issues;
- Noise contour measurements that identify flight patterns around the BBTCA; and
- Noise management and mitigation recommendations.
Over the past 24 months, the TPA has pursued every available practical initiative with regards to reducing the impact of the airport on the neighbouring community. The permanent Community Liaison Committee has met 5 times since it was created in 2011. The impact of the 2009 Noise Contour Study, which led to an increase to 202 daily commercial airline slots, was mitigated by the 2010 decision of the TPA Board of Directors to grant no early morning or late evening slots during the 2010 and 2011 RFP processes that awarded additional commercial airline services.
The most recent initiative in response to community concerns and the recommendations put forward by the Jacobs Report is the installation of a six metre-high acoustic barrier at the airport’s north west end. Installation of the barrier is one of 16 commitments the TPA made last year to Toronto residents, and construction is currently underway following a lengthy environmental assessment, which delayed the project’s initial timeline.
“The noise barrier’s installation demonstrates the TPA’s on-going commitment to accountability and responsiveness to local residents’ concerns,” said TPA President and CEO Geoff Wilson. He noted that the annual update on the Jacobs Consultancy Report’s 16 recommendations would be issued in the coming weeks. Following installation, the TPA will work in partnership with the community to develop artwork for the city-facing side of the noise barrier.
In addition to implementing the recommendations of the 2010 Jacobs Report, the TPA’s community commitments include:
- Ongoing efforts with the City of Toronto on the creation of a new taxi staging area in the Canada Malting Lands adjacent to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The new taxi area will help reduce traffic congestion and noise near Little Norway park.
- Financial support to the Harbourfront Community Centre’s (HCC) expansion of its Room 13 program, an internationally known leadership program for at-risk youth aged 13-17 that builds entrepreneurial, management, and teamwork skills.
- Financial support for the 2012 Reel Artists Film Festival being held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox from February 22-26.
- Financial support for Harbourfront’s 2012 summer programming, following the TPA’s successful 2011 role as Harbourfront’s Lead Summer Partner.
- Support for the annual Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario regatta.
- Support for the World Wildlife Federation’s Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
The TPA has also created a comprehensive operational noise management program, implemented last spring, that includes a noise management office with dedicated staff, state of the art technology to track aircraft noise, and a monthly public reporting mechanism on the website. This model is based on a similar program in place at Pearson Airport.
In 2011, total complaints about aircraft activity were down 33 per cent from the previous year. Of the total of 216 aircraft related complaints, fewer than one third were related to commercial activity, even though the total number of commercial aircraft movements grew in 2011. A detailed report on the complaint system statistics and response time is expected later this month, and will be posted at www.torontoport.com.
For more information about the noise barrier and Jacobs Report, please download the backgrounder and 2011 update.
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Media Contact: Suzanna Birchwood, 416 317 6405 (mobile)