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Debating Porter’s plans

Before going snowboarding this morning, I got into a bit of a heated debate on Twitter about Porter Airlines’ plans to expand the Toronto Island Airport and fly the new Bombardier CS100 from it. The proposal is facing a lot of opposition and, since I’m generally for it, the conversation got a bit lively.

At one point, I called somebody a NIMBY, which was probably an unproductive thing to do. But I was trying to better understand that person’s position. The argument was that parks (ie. the Toronto Islands) and planes don’t mix and so the proposal is bad. However, since we already have planes operating out of the island today, I wanted to know if what we have today was considered acceptable and, if yes, what the precise concerns are regarding the expansion.

In other words, I was trying to get a better sense of the threshold in which people start to feel the airport is a detriment to Toronto’s waterfront. Is it already considered a hindrance to waterfront enjoyment (it certainly isn’t for me) or is it a question of increased noise and flight volume bringing it over the edge?

Today the airport moves over 2 million people a year. So I have a hard time buying the argument that this is only a boutique airport for the elite. Clearly, it’s filling a need in the marketplace. And so I think it would behoove us to figure out how to balance the economic gain with the concerns of urban livability. I hope that we’ll be able to do that.

What’s your position on Porter’s plans? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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