Olivia Chow, Adam Vaughan promise to axe island airport expansion

The NDP and Liberals would both put a stop to Porter's plan to fly jets in and out of Billy Bishop airport, the two frontrunners in Spadina-Fort York told a group against the airport's expansion.

Conservative candidate says she'll respect the process when it comes to airport approvals

Olivia Chow and Adam Vaughan say they're against expansion of Billy Bishop airport so Porter airlines can fly jets in and out of the airport. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The NDP and Liberals would both put a stop to Porter's plan to fly jets in and out of Billy Bishop airport, the two frontrunners in Spadina-Fort York told a group against the airport's expansion.

Olivia Chow and Adam Vaughan both confirmed their stance on the topic in letters sent to CommunityAIR, a citizen's group focused on stopping the island airport's growth.

"No airport expansion. No jets. The NDP has been clear on these issues and other issues relating to the promotion of Toronto's waterfront as a resource for the people of Toronto," the NDP's Chow said in a letter to the organization.

Vaughan, meanwhile, wrote: "The Liberal Party will not re-open the tripartite agreement. No Jets. No Expansion. Period."

Porter Airlines announced in 2013 that it wants to extend the airport's runway to accommodate Bombardier CS-100 jets, which could allow the airline to reach more destinations. The proposal is still at city hall, though progress on the file has slowed.

The federal government would also have to approve the expansion.

Brian Iler, CommunityAIR's chair, said if this means Porter's jet proposal will not go ahead so long as the Conservatives lose the upcoming election.

Sabrina Zuniga, the Conservative candidate in Spadina-Fort York, said her party respects the airport and recognizes its economic impact, but wouldn't say one way or the other if the Tories support the plan to introduce jets.

"We respect the process," Zuniga said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a prominent backer of the island airport and was present to break ground for the tunnel that now connects the airport to the mainland.

Sharon Danley, the Green Party candidate, is also against Porter's plan to fly jets downtown.

"You don't bring machines that size into a highly populated area," Danley said, noting it would negatively affect both residents and wildlife in the area.

"What happens if there's an accident? It doesn't make sense."

Both Vaughan and Chow also promised to reform Ports Toronto, the organization that operates the airport, so that more waterfront stakeholders are involved in its decisions. 

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