Protesters greet Porter Airlines

About 30 protesters greeted the frist group of travellers on Porter Airlines, the Toronto Star reports. You can also read a feature by a Star repoter on-hand for the first flight.

“Another empty bus. Another empty bus,” some of the picketers on hand at 9 a.m. chanted as one bus drove past them carrying a lone passenger to the ferry docks.

The protesters say the flights from the Island Airport will add to pollution in the city and create safety issues.

“This facility here has two schools and a daycare centre. There’s a community centre here,” said Bill Freeman, spokesman for Community Air, as school children crossed at the lights. “Children are going to be crossing. So traffic is a very big issue.”

“This is a funny protest,” said Adam Vaughan, candidate for councillor of Ward 20, where the entrance to the airport is located. “How do you protest something that no one is going to use?

“Airlines usually start off with a bang and sort of quickly whimper out. This one is starting out with a whimper and it’s just going to go thud.”

The protesters had dispersed by 9:15 a.m. but said they plan to step up their rally at 4 p.m.

photo by TANNIS TOOHEY/TORONTO STAR

27 comments

  1. I used to fly to the island regularly when it was being used by Air Canada/Air Ontario. It seemed to coexist just fine with the nearby school and park. Using the airport for commuter flights is hardly a new concept.

  2. Just checked out pricing for a forthcoming trip to Ottawa in November – will give a wave if I see the pickets 🙂

  3. Glad to see people giving Porter a rough time.

    My objection has more to do with starting an airline in a market that cannot sustain any fluctuation to gas prices or another North American based terrorist attack.

    An increase from the 200 flights a week to just under 1000 is also cause for concern. The airport is amoney pit and whoever wants to spend time on the waterfront has to deal with something that is going to fail miserably within a short period of time.

  4. I really don’t understand the worry here – if Porter is so doomed to fail why bother picketing?

    As for 1000 movements a week, the Ottawa service will account for 108 at current levels (10 out/back per weekday, 2 out/back per Sat/Sun) according to the current timetable. It’s hard to see any other putative destination apart from Montreal and maybe New York sustaining even that level so it will take a while for the movements to tick up by 800/week – unless the rumours of Air Canada and some Beech 1900s have any substance.

  5. “If Porter is doomed to fail, why bother picketing?

    Why, so you can take credit for that failure, of course.

  6. Let’s see… we have a post celebrating eternal hatred and contempt for aviation, followed immediately by two posts illustrated by… aerial photographs? Anyone else see a hint of inconsistency here?

    By the way… I could (mostly) here the protesters over the noise of the aircraft… and I stood right by the water. I thought the roar from Community AIR and the politicians would drown out the planes.

  7. Hey John —

    where is this post celebrating enternal hatred for aviation? There’s a post about the protest, no hatred. The fact that it is followed by a picture from the air (which looks like it was taken from a plane that took off from Pearson considering the height) says nothing about consitency. You are really reaching for thing to latch your criticism to.
    And I don’t think the protesters hate aviation. They don’t like an airline that goes against everything voters and residents want. If this election goes to Miller you should shut your yap and accept that the people of Toronto don’t want an active airport down by the water. Some people do, but that doesn’t mean it is best for the city or that part of town.

  8. Petra, to be technical, if you think that the 03 or 06 election had or will have the island airport as its principal issue, then I have ocean front property in Saskatchewan you will love. 98% of people in Toronto DO NOT CARE one way or the other what happens. Why? To hear a politician talk about the waterfront these days is sort of akin to the boy who cried wolf. S/he could very well be saying something important, but too much crap has been spewed too often for anyone to care.

  9. What a bizarrely cynical Spacing comments thread.

    I can’t speak for 98% of the city, but I certainly care about this. I live downtown and I can’t believe this has been allowed to happen against the city’s wishes.

    On top of it, the money Porter has been given… tax money… ugh.

  10. How many people voted for a candidate that supported the airport in 03? More than half, since Hall and Tory both supported the airport. So much for an anti-airport “mandate”.

    I love the Island Airport and use it wherever possible. It is less polluting than YYZ (shorter trips from the core and no gridlock on Gardiner & 427 to spew out pollutants), cheaper (no $40 cabs, days of parking, etc) and prettier.

    The airport was there before most of our parents were born, rather than being some strange new interloper. Complaining about it is as stupid, selfish, and rude as people who move to Etobicoke or Mississauga and complain about Pearson.

    Viva YYT! Abas Community AIR! Muerta Leftist politicians everywhere!

  11. “no $40 cabs, days of parking, etc”

    Of course, by “$40 cab” you mean “$2.75 bus ride, although of course that’s the cash fare, and in reality it will be cheaper for someone who does even the most modest amount of preparation”, and by “days of parking” you mean “no parking whatsoever”.

  12. Petra:

    John Stuart Mill stated one of the basic rules of democratic discourse:

    If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
    John Stuart Mill

    Whoever gets elected in this coming election, I will continue to address issues of environment and envronmental equity, medical transport and education in aviation. Based on my research and calculations, all of these factors argue in favour of Toronto City Centre Airport. If you have arguments, the data to back them up, and some creative solutions to issues that concern the airport, then you will eventually convince me. If not, then I believe my position will win out.

  13. Anticorum:

    The one bus route that goes from Kipling to Pearson could not take more than a tiny fraction of the people leaving for Pearson on any given day. In fact, in Reading Toronto, Robert Ouillet, who supports Mayor Miller’s views as much as anyone, has written of the difficulty of getting to Pearson by TTC. In reality, a huge proportion of the traffic to Pearson goes by car, limo, and taxi, and any realistic assessment of the environmental alternatives has to acknowledge that.

    In any case, no use of the TTC will change the reality that because planes at Pearson have, n average, to taxi further to use the longer runways and larger airport, dispatching a traveller from Pearson produces at least 30% more local toxic pollution than dispatching the same traveller, on the same plane, from Toronto City Centre Airport.

  14. The funniest thing is, a chunk of the “tax money” that was given to Porter Air came in the form of a settlement the City of Toronto had to pay to Deluce for cancelling the bridge and making it “impossible” to run an airline off the island.

    And people wonder why we’re cynical.

  15. Oh, John. You keep on trying to tell people that the real world doesn’t exist — I’m still chuckling at the thought that I was in “downtown Chicago” every time I boarded that 45-minute ride on the Orange Line I took every two months for six years. If that’s what counts as downtown, then we already have a downtown airport: it’s the one out by Mississauga with the shiny new terminal.

    But enough of your past fantasies. Right now, the argument for the island airport was to avoid a $40 cab ride. Now, maybe they make taxis different in your world, but in my universe, they’re slightly smaller than buses. Why, it might even be that you could replace a whole fleet of taxis with a single bus, and run more buses as the route’s passenger load increases. (Before you try to argue the impossibility of such a thing, please keep in mind the fact that this has already happened.)

    Spending forty bucks to get to Pearson is a personal choice for the vast majority of people who will be voting in this election. And I’m sorry that these meaniepants hipsters kicked your puppy, John, but no amount of posturing about your blessed island eyesore will change the fact that it only costs more than $2.75 to get to Toronto’s as-downtown-as-Midway airport if you decide to let it.

  16. John Spragge,

    Your October 24 post mentions that your research and calculations argue in favour of the Toronto City Centre Airport in terms of the environment, environmental equity, medical transport and education. Starting with the environment, would you please be so kind as to answer a few questions citing your research and calculations on questions on water contamination and the TCCA?

    Either ethylene glycol or propylene glycol are the two active ingredients in aircraft de-icing or anti-icing fluids. Ethylene glycol has an effect on marine life when it enters a body of water and breaks down. It leads to oxygen depletion threatening the survival of aquatic life. If an ethylene glycol based fluid contains additives such as tolyltriazole, the fluid becomes three to ten times more toxic to marine organisms.

    De-icing fluids are used at both Pearson and the Toronto City Centre Airport.

    By 2002, Pearson had in place a central de-icing facility and the infrastructure to properly handle de-icing fluids so they wouldn’t contaminate water either through run-off or storm sewers.

    As late as winter 2006, the Toronto City Centre Airport had no means of containing these fluids. They either ran into storm sewers and entered the lake directly or ran into the ice and snow on the tarmac which was then plowed into piles by the water’s edge and entered the lake as melt water.

    Do the de-icing fluids the Toronto City Centre Airport uses contain additives such as tolyltriazole or do they use the type that is less harmful to the environment?

    Do these additives find their way into our drinking water?

    How much longer will the Toronto City Centre Airport continue to allow their de-icing fluids to discharge untreated into the lake?

    Do you feel that because the Toronto City Centre Airport is a smaller facility, it doesn’t matter if some of these liquids contaminate the lake?

    What percentage increase in the use of these fluids will the Toronto City Centre Airport experience this winter with the advent of Porter Airlines flights?

    How does the relative treatment of de-icing fluids by the two airports argue in favour of the Toronto City Centre Airport?

    Thank you.

  17. Mr. Kotyk:
    Can you give me a source for your claim that Toronto City Centre Airport has no facility to control deicing fluid? The Toronto Port Authority claims they put in a Glycol Containment Area and mitigation system back in 1997. The storm drains in this deicing facility connect to the Toronto sanitary sewers, where the Toronto sanitary waste facilities process the waste deicing fluid.

    If you have evidence to back up your statement, I would like to see it. I take water quality issues as seriously as anyone else who drinks Toronto water.

  18. Anticorum–
    While I’ll concede that you can reasonably dispute the definition of Midway as a downtown airport, it fills the role, for marketing and travel purposes, of a convenient downtown airport. A good many people live near Midway, just as large numbers of people live near Pearson. Therefore, painting Mayor Daley as an environmental hero, determined to protect Chicago from pollution at the risk of feeling the wrath of Chicago’s business community, does not hold water.

    By the way, if you lived for six years under Daley’s thuggish administration, you have my sympathy. You have it even more because you refuse to see the beauty and the joy in aviation which, by your account, you depended on regularly for some time.

    As for the Kipling/YYZ bus line: Kipling subway station and one bus bay cannot possibly handle the full load of passengers from Pearson. Perhaps more people should take the TTC to Pearson, and perhaps the TTC should put on more bus routes. I don’t defend TCCA as a way to save on cab fare; I do defend it as a way of mitigating the effects of massive car traffic to Pearson. And an evaluation of environmental effects has to take into account the way people actually do behave, not the way you may think they ought to behave.

  19. Mr. Spragge,

    On March 21, 2002, Dr. Sheela Basrur, then City of Toronto Medical Officer of Health, presented a report titled Management of De-icing Activities at Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport to the Toronto Board of Heath. The report describes the necessary components of a proper de-icing facility. It specifically states that de-icing fluids are not to be discharged into the storm water system because of their negative effects on the environment and in particular their toxicity.
    The source you have cited states, “All storm water discharged into Lake Ontario is closely monitored and tested. TCCA has created a new Glycol Containment Area where the run-off goes directly into storm sewers connected to Metro Toronto Sanitary Sewage Network.” This is the very practice that the de-icing facilities at Pearson were put in place to prevent.

    The claim that the port authority has had a glycol mitigation system in place since 1997 is curious since in Amendment 1 (f) of the Tri-Partite Amending Agreement dated June 2003, among the City of Toronto, the Toronto Port Authority and the Ministry of Transport the port authority agreed to put in place a Storm Water Management Plan.

    Krystyn Tully, Vice-President, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper critiqued the port authority’s Storm Water Management Plan on November 23, 2003. Her account may be found at http://www.waterkeeper.ca/content/fish/original_content_6609.php
    The following are three of her observations.
    · The report confirms that increased air traffic at any level would result in BOD5 loadings exceeding all applicable guidelines. The TPA has provided no plan to prevent such infractions.
    · None of the “potential mitigation measures” listed on page 35 appears to be feasible for the TCCA, based on the analysis provided by JSW. It is totally unacceptable to call this a storm water management plan when the most fundamental conclusion of the report is that management of storm water with increased air traffic is not feasible.
    · One of the most disturbing statements in the report is found on page 40: “If winter time storm water discharged to the City’s sanitary sewer system exceeds 300 mg/l for BOD5 on an average daily basis, then a surcharge agreement must be developed with the City of Toronto.” The City of Toronto developed its storm water by-laws based on scientific levels intended to protect aquatic life and human health. It is totally unacceptable for the TPA’s storm water management “plan” to presume that, if it the TPA is in violation of the law, it can merely pay the City of Toronto to look the other way. There should be no assurance for the TPA that, if it is unable to meet city standards, it can simply “buy” itself into compliance. This is the cheapest, most ineffective kind of storm water management.

    On November 27, 2003 the following story appeared on CityPulse news.
    ‘Chemical reactions’ by Adam Vaughan
    There’s a new wrinkle in the battle over the Toronto Island Airport, and it could be enough to ground the controversial fixed-link bridge for good. An environmental assessment commissioned by the Toronto Port Authority – which supports the bridge – seems to indicate that when the planes that land there now are de-iced during the winter, many of the chemicals that are used go straight into Lake Ontario.
    Among the substances that hit the drink: aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, zinc, oil and grease – just to name a few. The revelation already has environmentally conscious politicians up in arms. “They better come clean with the citizens of Toronto and tell us precisely what they’re putting in the water,” demands Councillor Olivia Chow. “If not, they shouldn’t be operating at all.”
    The Port Authority claims it will be releasing the full list of the chemical soup next week, but insists none of the ingredients in the fluid escape into the water.
    That seems to be countered by a series of photos obtained by CityPulse, which show melting snow from the Airport stacked up near the lake, and a discharge spout from the same area letting out into the frigid waters.

    At the end of the day, according to the Toronto Port Authority’s own website, the de-icing fluids are still running into Lake Ontario.

    I look forward to hearing back from you on my original questions.

    Do the de-icing fluids the Toronto City Centre Airport uses contain additives such as tolyltriazole or do they use the type that is less harmful to the environment?

    Do these additives find their way into our drinking water?

    How much longer will the Toronto City Centre Airport continue to allow their de-icing fluids to discharge untreated into the lake?

    Do you feel that because the Toronto City Centre Airport is a smaller facility, it doesn’t matter if some of these liquids contaminate the lake?

    What percentage increase in the use of these fluids will the Toronto City Centre Airport experience this winter with the advent of Porter Airlines flights?

    How does the relative treatment of de-icing fluids by the two airports argue in favour of the Toronto City Centre Airport?

    Thank you.

  20. Mr. Kotyk:
    I think the use of the term “storm sewer” has confused you. You also seem to have confused deicing glycol mitigation with storm water management plans. When the TPA speaks of storm sewers here, they means channels for storm or runoff water. However, the system for runoff water containing glycol deicing fluid at TCCA empties into the sanitary sewers. The sanitary sewers carry the water to the sewage treatment plants, which treats the sewage and deactivates the glycol. When your source at the Lake Ontario Keeper speaks of a BOD5, this refers to the aeration (oxygen) require to deactivate a particular pollutant. The Toronto Port Authority does not discharge deicing runoff into the environment.

    A deicing glycol mitigation system aims to eliminate the release of toxic anti-icing agents from the deicing process; a storm water management plan addresses all the runoff coming from the airport property.

    In the interests of keeping this short, I will simply mention that the Toronto Public Works department has not yet (to my knowledge) claimed that they can’t process and render harmless the waster from the TCCA deicing facility. I believe that the deicing facility at Toronto City Centre Airport has operated, and will continue to operate, without putting deicing fluid into the environment.
    To answer your questions:

    > Do the de-icing fluids the Toronto City Centre
    > Airport uses contain additives such as
    > tolyltriazole or do they use the type that
    > is less harmful to the environment?

    I don’t know.

    > Do these additives find their way into our
    > drinking water?

    No. They find their way to sewage treatment plants.

    > How much longer will the Toronto City Centre
    > Airport continue to allow their de-icing
    > fluids to discharge untreated into the lake?

    They don’t. They haven’t since 1997.

    > Do you feel that because the Toronto City Centre
    > Airport is a smaller facility, it doesn’t
    > matter if some of these liquids contaminate the
    > lake?

    No. Neither, to judge from the record, does the TPA.

    > What percentage increase in the use of these
    > fluids will the Toronto City Centre Airport
    > experience this winter with the advent of Porter
    > Airlines flights?

    Impossible to predict; however, none of it will go untreated into the lake.

    > How does the relative treatment of de-icing fluids
    > by the two airports argue in favour of the
    > Toronto City Centre Airport?

    It doesn’t. TCCA and Pearson do an equally effective job of treating and handling waste deicing fluids.

  21. Mr. Spragge,
    Thank you for your explanation and your answers. They appear to have currency. I will examine them at greater length but not tonight. It’s Friday, I’ve been running around all day and am taking the rest of the evening off.
    I would also like to return to the matter of the points raised about the airport’s storm water management plan and the practice of allowing plowed snow and ice to melt into the lake.
    Thank you for your patience.

  22. Mr. Spragge,

    Thank you for your clarification on the difference between glycol mitigation and storm water management plans.

    Accordingly, it appears that there are three issues with regard to the Toronto City Centre Airport (TCCA) treatment of water on its property. There is the question of the handling of de-icing glycol; the question of how the storm water management plan addresses all the airport’s runoff; and the question of the handling of accumulated snow and ice which contains a variety of toxic materials.

    De-icing Glycol
    The link (http://www.torontoport.com/airport_facts.asp) in one of your previous postings leads to the Toronto Port Authority’s website. It states, “TCCA has created a new Glycol Containment Area where the run-off goes directly into storm sewers connected to Metro Toronto Sanitary Sewage Network.”
    You state, “The sanitary sewers carry the water to the sewage treatment plants, which treats the sewage and deactivates the glycol.”
    Neither the TCCA site nor you mention on-site treatment. Can we assume there is none?
    Compare this to the GTAA’ handling and monitoring of de-icing fluids at Pearson as described by Dr. Basrur in her March 21, 2002 report. http://www.toronto.ca/health/hphe/pdf/deicingactivities.pdf
    Consider the possible consequence, described below, of failing to properly handle de-icing fluids.

    Storm Water Management Plan
    With regard to the TCCA’s run off, its website states, “TCCA has had a water sampling and mitigation programme in place since 1992. All storm water discharged into Lake Ontario is closely monitored and tested.” There are, however, no details given on the mitigation programme.
    Do you have information on the TCCA’s water sampling and mitigation programme?
    Consider the following from a City of Toronto website. “Once it [stormwater] enters the grate (having collected dirt, oil, grease and a lot of other pollutants along the way), it travels through our extensive storm sewer system – 4,500 km in all – to some 2,600 outfalls or outlet pipes. In some cases, stormwater mixes with wastewater in the combined sewers or infiltrates into sanitary sewers. This causes the wastewater system and the City’s sewage treatment plants to be overloaded and untreated water enters our rivers, streams and Lake Ontario.”
    http://www.toronto.ca/water/protecting_quality/wwfmmp/
    The last statement in the paragraph may be at odds with your claim, “The Toronto Port Authority does not discharge de-icing runoff into the environment.”
    Could not the TCCA discharge untreated de-icing fluids into the lake in this manner?
    Finally, your posting states, “When your source at the Lake Ontario Keeper speaks of a BOD5, this refers to the aeration (oxygen) require to deactivate a particular pollutant.” However, this reference does not address the three points cited that criticize the TCCA’s Storm Water management Plan. Have you read the TCCA’s Storm Water Management Plan prepared by JSW & Associates in order to refute the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper critique?

    Accumulated Snow and Ice
    My earlier post cited a news story about “…a series of photos obtained by CityPulse, which show melting snow from the Airport stacked up near the lake, and a discharge spout from the same area letting out into the frigid waters.” Unless there is evidence to the contrary available in the public domain, it may be possible that TCCA discharges de-icing runoff as well as other toxic materials into the environment. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

    Please excuse the delay in posting this information. I look forward to your response.

    Thank you.

  23. Mr. Kotyk:

    To answer your question on on-site treatment of waste deicing fluids at Pearson and City Centre, according to the information available to me, both TCCA and Pearson send their spent deicing fluids for treatment through the Toronto sanitary sewer system.

    To answer your question about the TCCA water sampling and mitigation program: I have no details; I know it exists. If you want specific details about any Toronto Port Authority program, you should direct your question to the TPA.

    On the subject of releasing contaminants to the environment via a sewer overflow: Toronto recently spent a huge amount of money on sanitary sewage holding tanks at the Humberview sewage plant, which should render sewage overflows somewhat less common. In any case, snowstorms (the primary times for deicing) do not generally trigger sewage overflows, and summer thunderstorms (a major cause of sewage overflows) do not require ground-based deicing.
    I can’t find the TCCA storm-water management plan on-line, and I have no time at the present to look it up.

    On accumulated snow and ice: deicing runoff will not pass into the environment through snow melt, for the obvious reason that glycol-based deicing fluid doesn’t freeze.

  24. Mr. Spragge,
    Thank you for your response and the ideas it has generated.
    I have made enquiries about the Toronto City Centre Airport’s Storm Water Management Plan prepared by JSW & Associates, June 2003 for the TPA and have a lead on a hard copy. I will compare the details to the details of the Pearson plan and take any steps I feel are necessary to bring discrepancies to the appropriate authorities.
    Similarly, I have made enquiries of Toronto Board of Health and Public Works about studies undertaken on the Toronto City Centre Airport mitigation systems and/or monitoring of run-off in order to see if an independent body is evaluating the Toronto City Centre Airport mitigation system effluent.
    Your postings have been invaluable.

  25. I find having the airport there great for the business commuter market to serve Toronto’s downtown core. As for the de-icing facilities…seems dumb that they would not have thought about the contamination in the lake. Besides, there’s enough pollution in Toronto as it is. Why does this picketing start now? As I recall that airport was there a while ago, back with Air Ontario serving it then Air Canada Jazz. Now one thing that I am against in the GTA is the proposed Pickering Airport project. Now I’ve lived beside train tracks for 18 years and it could be annoying, but I won’t picket against CN Rail for a track that’s been there a century ago. Now I know that I’ll be flamed for saying this, cause a train track is probably not as comparable to an airport. I even lived near a lake where there was a lot of hydroplanes flying around all the time. But you know what, if you don’t like it, then get out of there! Now I’m a student in Ottawa, and someday I will fly Porter when I have money, seems like an awsome airline. Now have fun replying angrily at me!

  26. A friend of mine works at Porter and apparently there is a promo code which provides 50% off flights to friends and family of Porter Employees from Dec 18 – Jan 7th. Sounds unbelievable! Has anyone got a seat yet?
    See this message below which he forwarded me. Promo Code: FAMI.

    “We are happy to offer a special holiday promotion to friends and family of Porter Employees with a 50% off promotion for flights between Toronto and Ottawa/Montreal. The promotion is in effect for travel between December 18th and January 7th and is only valid through our online reservation system.

    For bookings, enter the promo code “FAMI” on the home page of http://www.flyporter.com. After having entered the promotional code simply search for flights and all fare classes will be discounted by 50%.

    Today with the lowest fare to Ottawa at $69 and Montreal at $85 in Firm Class, this would result in a base fare cost of $34.50 from Toronto to Ottawa and $42.50 to Montreal.

    This promotion is only available for a short period of time and with limited seat availability, so if you do have friends and family interested in traveling they should book soon.”

  27. The City of Toronto is trying to become more environmentally conscious by ‘greening the city’. Continual flights out of an island airport contravene this agenda, and add to to the smog which is already problematic in Toronto. Porter Airlines is a private enterprise which is going against the wishes of downtown Toronto residents, and is adding substantially to the noise, air and water pollution in and above the city and to Lake Ontario. Carbon emissions from short haul flights are very high.

    How is it that Toronto residents voted against the bridge to the island airport, therefore against Porter Airlines, but our needs to control the quality of our life have been ignored? Why is a private company carrying very few passengers viewed as more important than the environmental health of a city, and its residents that live underneath Porter’s flight paths?

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