Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Deputy mayor focused on Toronto island airport expansion

TORONTO - The debate over the expansion of the Toronto Island airport is about to land at executive committee again.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said Tuesday he’s focused on the proposed airport expansion.

Porter Airlines has been pushing to expand the airport and allow jets to use the facility to grow its routes. The issue is expected to come back to executive committee next week.

While Mayor Rob Ford had supported the push, he’s no longer running the committee.

Kelly, the chairman of the executive committee, said he wants to ensure the island airport makes a “significant contribution” to the city’s economy “one way or the other.”

“I think there is merit in (Porter’s plans),” Kelly said. “Let’s just make sure that the merit we perceive in his plans is actually there.”

Kelly met with Porter CEO Bob Deluce at City Hall on Tuesday.

“Sometimes you can get buried in information and what you have to do to advance the file one or the other is to cut to the essential items or issues that are involved in it,” he said. “Otherwise there is an avalanche of data that descends on you.”

Councillor Adam Vaughan wasn’t surprised by Kelly’s openness to the airport expansion.

“Norm Kelly has flown all over the world on the Toronto Port Authority’s dime, he owes them huge,” Vaughan said. “I appreciate that Norm has always been a big airport booster, he’d pave the whole lake if he thought it would help Mr. Deluce, but that’s not the issue.”

Vaughan claimed the expansion would require around $1 billion in infrastructure.

“It doesn’t fit even if you could do it,” he said. “We don’t have the money, we don’t have the land and we don’t have the will.

“He may like jets and read Popular Mechanics a lot, but that doesn’t mean the Ottawa International Airport is going to fit on the Toronto waterfront.”
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1 comment:

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