Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Toronto to allow talks on expansion of Billy Bishop Airport

Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines, speaks in favour of a proposal to expand Billy Bishop City Airport at Toronto City Hall on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Toronto has moved one step closer to allowing jets along the waterfront, after the city's executive committee approved a proposal that opens the door to negotiations on an expansion at the Toronto Island airport.

The committee approved in a 11-1 vote Tuesday to move forward with a controversial staff report after a day of divisive debate. The proposal would allow talks over the proposed expansion, and could lead to the end of the current ban on jets.

"We're pleased," said Porter Airlines head Bob Deluce after the vote. "Getting the boat out of council today and having it go forward on a very definitive path is good news for all of us,"

Story continues below advertisement

A standing-room-only crowd packed the council chamber Tuesday, with nearly 200 people hoping to speak.

Leading up to the debate, Mayor Rob Ford advocated for a speedy approval while Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said he is working toward a an even quicker resolution on jets – rather than coming back for a vote next year, as recommended in the staff proposal.

The issue has for many months divided council and attracted both big-name supporters and opponents – the latter arguing jets would threaten revitalization along the waterfront. Tuesday's meeting was the latest step in a long debate expected to move to council in April.

Two leading mayoral candidates have already come out against the proposal. John Tory called for a fast deferral, while Olivia Chow pressed for a prompt rejection.

And a group of councillors is expected to try to impose a ban on jets at council, or "receive" the report – which would put the whole matter on the shelf.

"The only thing we're prepared to say right now is no because the information hasn't been presented to us," said Councillor Adam Vaughan, a vocal opponent of the expansion.

"It's just not going to happen in this term of council," he said. "The only way we'll even get close to considering it is if they capitulate to caps on flights, caps on passengers, they invest in infrastructure currently needed down there, and they also step up on a whole series of other fronts."

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Authors
National Food Reporter

Ann Hui is the national food reporter at The Globe and Mail. Previously, she worked as a national reporter and homepage editor for and an online editor in News. More

Toronto City Hall bureau chief


Oliver Moore joined the Globe and Mail's web newsroom in 2000 as an editor and then moved into reporting. A native Torontonian, he served four years as Atlantic Bureau Chief and has worked also in Afghanistan, Grenada, France, Spain and the United States. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨