Bluffs Advocate

Op-Ed

Jets On Our Scarborough Waterfront

Add your voice to the NoJetsTO website at nojetsto.ca/scarborough

By Sonja Chamberlain, Scarborough resident and NoJetsTO volunteer

            When it comes to the plans for jets on our waterfront, some folks have asked me why the good people of Scarborough should care about one more political fight that's happening at City Hall. It's simple: councillors' decision on this issue will directly affect Scarborough's waterfront.

With a string of parks running from the Rouge River (just east of Port Union Road) to the Scarborough Bluffs and points further west (even closer to the proposed flight path of the jets), this is anything but a downtown-only issue.

Just a short while ago, the Toronto Port Authority unveiled its master plan for the Island Airport, and it's ugly. Bigger than Ottawa's international airport, the island facility that the TPA envisions would handle 5.5 million passengers per year—more than double today's passenger volume, with a 20 per cent increase in daily flights.

It's an irresponsible plan that is totally at odds with the work that Waterfront Toronto has been doing for the past decade, as it has strived to create and maintain a green, liveable waterfront from Scarborough to Etobicoke.

With the proposed airport expansion, Scarborough's waterfront would be damaged by noise and air pollution from jets and increased flights. Our green spaces and beaches would fall victim to an airport expansion that is patently unnecessary—and from which Scarborough does not benefit.

Seventy-five per cent of the Island Airport's current customers are Bay Street business travellers. Now the TPA and Porter Airlines want to tap into the market of downtown condo dwellers who hop onto planes to Florida and Las Vegas.

So what would Scarborough gain from the expansion? Nothing—there would be no tangible benefits. But we would be saddled with huge damages: children and residents of all ages would suffer from increased air and noise pollution, along with degraded parks, beaches, and marinas.

A privately held airline and a rogue federal agency, eager to increase their profits, are pushing for the jets, with a City Council vote as early as this fall.

But more and more Scarborough residents realize that the expansion would be a great loss for them. This is why we're speaking out. Under the banner of NoJetsTO, concerned residents are informing neighbours and telling City Councillors what's at stake. And with our new Scarborough volunteer coordinator, Elizabeth Glor-Bell, we are putting together a strong team.

Now is the time to add your voice. Join the NoJetsTO Scarborough chapter to find out more. Simply go to nojetsto.ca/scarborough to sign up.

Together we can stop the irresponsible airport expansion and keep our cherished waterfront as a place for people, not jets.

UFCW