Report on Airport Activities:
December 19, 2016
MWHA FORMAL RESPONSE TO HELIOS PARTICIPATION REQUEST:
December 19, 2016
29 Hercules Way,
Farnborough, Hampshire, UK, GU14 6UU
Attention: Nick Boud, Principal Consultant
Re: Toronto Airspace Review & Official Response By The Markland Wood Homeowners Association (MWHA), Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Markland Wood Homeowners Association (MWHA) appreciates the opportunity to help shape the Terms of Reference for the HELIOS 2016 study, the Independent Toronto Airspace Review (ITAR). While we assume HELIOS has received clear expectations from their client, the MWHA is uniquely qualified, living in the vicinity of the airport and having followed the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) and NAV Canada (NAV) from their inception, to give a stakeholder perspective and is happy to make our knowledge and experience in the form of suggestions available to HELIOS by way of this submission.
This is the twenty-first century, not the beginning of the industrial revolution. Social impact is important. Who does the airport belong to and whose interest does it serve? From whence do the airport officials get the authority to increasingly impact Greater Toronto Area residents’ sleep? In the late 1950s we understand that AVRO officials consciously tested the AVRO Arrow’s Orenda engines in Nobel, Ontario largely because of the company’s concern of the powerful noise impact upon the Malton community. Would the Toronto residential areas get that same grace today?
Both the GTAA and the MWHA must plan carefully; they for their management reasons and we to protect our Toronto residents, in particular, our children far into the future. If we do not speak up for our future young people, who will? After all, the GTAA seems to have targeted 2025 as the time frame for another study of their ‘needs’. If we do not insist upon some model of night noise control such as we enjoyed under the original 1997 night flight budget numbers it will be too late! Hence our support of the 1997 standards for a night flight budget as a maximum, established by way of letter from the Minister of Transport at the time.
Our recommendations here are simple, and as with most simple things, they are, among other subjects, essential to further any discussion of aircraft noise.
The MWHA Input to the ITAR Terms of Reference is:
- Return the night flight determination formula to that established in the 1997 Minister’s letter on the matter as a maximum number of nighttime aircraft movements while considering a return to no night flights but for emergency type landings;
- Provide clear science-based, enforceable and monitored human health protecting maximum aircraft noise standards, and consider measuring aircraft sonic emissions in the dBc scale rather than the presently employed dBa scale.
- Anticipate the impact of the ongoing “six ideas” work in association with any ITAR suggestions
- Anticipate the impact of a Pickering airport
1. Sleep Protection and the Night Flight ‘Budget’
Our MWHA interest in this matter, emergency situations excepted, is to establish and preserve our community’s entitlement to a period of restful sleep each night. We always accepted and continue to accept the formulae in the letter signed by the Minister of Transport in early 1997 drawn up for establishing the night flight budget immediately after the operational transfer to the GTAA in December 1996 of Lester B. Pearson International Airport (LBPIA).
This 1997 formula changed following a request from the GTAA to Transport Minister Lebel in December 2011. One and one half years later, during the period of a Cabinet shuffle in June 2013 some yet-unidentified person in the Minister’s office approved the GTAA’s request for a 50% night flight increase potential. We seek to have this June 2013 approval signed by that unidentified individual reverted to the night flight budget determination as per the 1997
The consultant needs to be aware of this major problem to community sleep. As this 1997 Ministerial letter was, obviously, a political non-legislative tool to protect the community’s sleep, and given that it was modified in June 2013, it must fall in the purview of the HELIOS mandate, well after the 2012 date HELIOS is to be looking at. The direct noise reduction point is that, if you reduce the number of night flights to the 1997 level, you immediately reduce the noise level at night. No cost, no legislation needed – naught but the Minister’s signature on a letter reversing his/her requirement.
While our ideal situation would be a complete cessation of night flights, we are realists. We do know that the trend, according to the excellent Boeing Corporation website, is that curfews on major airports have increased across the world, rising from +/- 40 in 1970 to well over 200 airports in 2010. Obviously, consciousness of a night noise problem exists and is worldwide. It is a certainty that these 200+ airports are doing this in response to citizens’ concerns.
2. A Human Health Based Aircraft Noise Standard; Verifiable and Enforced
Another immediate means to address aircraft noise complaints would be to have Health Canada review and recommend human health based limits to community-impacting aircraft noise. Innumerable complaints respecting noise could be managed clearly and fairly if we had a human health based standard by which aircraft noise was judged and controlled. Instead of referring to
simply ‘loud’ noise complaints we would have a useful health-related value, one which also provides a target for the aircraft manufacturers and operators to work toward.
It strikes us that, respecting human-health based aircraft noise standards, given their international experience and their professional contacts within the European health field dealing with aircraft noise, HELIOS is the perfect agent from whom to receive clear and scientifically supported recommendation(s) on the maximum aircraft noise level(s) to which residential communities may be exposed. Such recommendations would note in particular at what volume and at what event frequency the community’s necessary quality of sleep may be expected to be negatively impacted together with what the medical literature suggests the human health outcome(s) is of negative sleep patterns.
Indeed, it might be appropriate for Health Canada to review existing European standards for aircraft noise and select the strictest of them for the benefit of Canadians. This would be a minimal cost, the study work having already been done in Europe and the results tested by colleagues abroad. We are also confident that such an approach would also deal with the relative benefits each of the dBa and the dBc decibel scales for the purpose of human health protection. Notwithstanding the GTAA continually suggesting that they are different than all other world airports, what with LBPIA’s world vision and their hub design, may we suggest that Frankfurt’s (0 night flights) or Heathrow’s (16 +/- night flights) provide leading examples of ‘Best Practice’ and therefore should certainly be included amongst the HELIOS examples and recommendations in dealing with nighttime aircraft noise!
3. The ‘Six’ ideas
Our third recommendation centers around wanting to see how the six ideas of GTAA/NAV CANADA collaboration will fit into the ITAR framework.
NAV CANADA together with the GTAA is studying six approaches to reducing noise at LBPIA and several of these, if implemented in whole or in part, will simply serve to distribute the noise of aircraft to new ears on the ground, thereby ensuring an ever-growing constituency opposed to the aircraft activity, particularly the appearance of night flights over the newly co-opted
communities. None will find the new noise a benefit. Eventually, the sheer number of upset Toronto residents will carry the necessary political counterweight to the GTAA’s hunger for expansion, and change will happen.
These ‘six’ ideas must be referenced and critically analyzed in the study because the ‘six ideas’ are regarded by the GTAA and NAV CANADA as their meaningful and ongoing efforts to change the noise levels, and this control of noise levels is obviously one of the purposes of the HELIOS study. The MWHA is unable to comment on any of the six initiatives proposed by NAV CANADA or the GTAA at this time. We are pleased that very recently HELIOS has been separately contracted to explore two of the six ideas on behalf of the airport administration.
4. Pickering Airport – what is its status?
With respect to Pickering airport, as Toronto residents impacted by aircraftnoise, and as taxpayers, we have a vested interest in the matter. We only hear of the GTAA’s growth demand for its facility(s), while political rumours continue to circulate about Pickering airport becoming a reality. Pickering’s construction or abandonment would have a direct bearing on the continuing expansion of LBPIA. The late federal Finance minister, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, was promising its construction up until his death in 2014, and with the federal government continuing to hold the required land, the matter is important. Obviously, the construction of a major airport east of Toronto will drain activity from LBPIA; hence the aircraft noise from Toronto Pearson will be reduced correspondingly.
On behalf of our children, when important political voices speak of new airport construction in Pickering, the HELIOS study must make some educated statement regarding such a massive facility serving the same business ‘community’ as the LBPIA. This becomes all the more important when we read about the recent efforts of Mr. Howard Eng of the GTAA and Mr. Ben Smith of Air Canada to move toward their 50 million passenger target for Pearson, without one word of reference either to Pickering’s situation or to impacts of such an aircraft movement load on Toronto residents.
5. Contribution to ITAR Prefaced Upon Addressing Night Flight Management and Restrictions
As discussed in our meeting with you on November 2, 2016, the MWHA is uncomfortable taking part in and/or having our name attached to any report sponsored by NAV CANADA/GTAA which does not address our prime concern, the reduction of night flights, in its recommendations. Where the MWHA has given its input to a report such as this, any ignoring, rationalization or dismissal of the night flight issue would imply our acceptance of this practice, and that is categorically not acceptable to us. Our membership has let this be known.
We also advise that the MWHA is unfamiliar with either national policies or global aviation provisions demanding that airport capacity not be reduced. Please ensure that, should these policy and provision references exist, they be very clear in the HELIOS review report. In any event, a return to the 1997 standard for night flight calculation or even the elimination of night flights (but for emergencies) should not result in any diminution of total aircraft activity as these totals can easily be achieved by better managing present night flights into the near-time openings in the 18 hour daytime schedule. The airport ‘capacity’ would remain unchanged – it would not be reduced!
We close with a plea to have the final report avoid any recommendation that the public take aircraft noise concerns to a feckless administrative organ like the GTAA CENAC which is essentially a marketing function focused on public image and advertising of the ‘HERE IS WHAT WE’RE DOING AT YOUR AIRPORT THIS WEEK’ type of newsletter. As a body it serves little but to give the irate a place to go. Even the GTAA does not claim success in noise reduction – why
bother having CENAC as poor window dressing? We thank you for the opportunity to participate in ITAR, with the understanding that night flight elimination or reduction to the aforementioned 1997 level is an integral part of the Terms of Reference.
Dr. Donald Beggs, President,
Markland Wood Homeowners Association Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada
Report on Airport Activities:
February 5, 2016
As many will recall, through the good offices of former Councillor Peter Leon, and now closely continued by Councillor Stephen Holyday, the City of Toronto had been invited to take the Toronto community’s sleep interest more directly to our
federal government officials. Quoting the staff report to Executive Committee:
“On August 20, 2014, the Executive Committee considered item EX44.54, Toronto Pearson International Airport’s Night Flights requesting the City Manager write to Transport Canada to request that they reconsider their 2013 decision to increase Toronto Pearson International Airport’s night flight budget and revert back to the previous night flight budget established in 1997. The City Manager was requested to report back to the Executive Committee on Transport Canada’s response.
The City Manager’s Office sent a letter to Transport Canada on April 24, 2015 communicating the Executive Committee’s request and met with Transport Canada staff on July 14, 2015 to discuss the request. The City officially received a response from Transport Canada on December 16, 2015 indicating its 2013 decision regarding the number of night flights at Toronto Pearson International Airport will stand.”
In addition, we are pleased that another very active community group was formed in 2012 and has a lead part in attempting to address another airport related decision. The Toronto Aviation Noise Group (T. A. N. G.) has particular interest in the newly decreed aircraft routing approaching Toronto Pearson, routing which now brings many aircraft over central Toronto. This decision was reached with little. if any, community consultation, and T. A. N. G. solicited communication from Council to NAV Canada respecting changes through Councillor Matlow. In response, quoting from the Executive Committee report:
“This report also provides information related to the development of a stakeholder consultation protocol by NAV Canada and the Canadian Airports Council to guide outreach and engagement with the community on changes to airspace design and associated noise impacts, as well as the Toronto Noise Mitigation Initiatives launched by NAV Canada and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) aimed at working with communities across the Greater Toronto Area to reduce the noise footprint of aircraft operations at Toronto Pearson airport and reduce the impacts on the City’s neighbourhoods.”
In addition to the above activity, the report notes:
“The City’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown, recommended that the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) expand the scope of its Air Quality Study to include a Health Impact Assessment to identify any health impacts associated with aircraft noise related to the change in flight paths for Pearson airport.
The GTAA responded that it would not be practical to expand the scope of the current air quality study to include the health impacts of noise. Instead, they will investigate what would be required to conduct a noise study.”
As a result of the increasing attention the GTAA and NAV Canada are receiving, as of July 2015, they have initiated a process named the Toronto Noise Mitigation Initiatives (TNMI). This effort will explore six conceptions from the two agencies aimed at some increased level of noise control, but without reduced night flight activity at this time. These include: 1) New approaches for nighttime operations 2) New departure procedures for nighttime operations 3) Increase downwind arrival speeds 4) Use new technology to reduce the need for low altitude leveling by arriving aircraft 5) Establish weekend preferential runways 6) Alternate nighttime preferential runways. City staff is monitoring the progress and outcomes of the Toronto Noise Mitigation Initiatives.
Your Airport Committee is taking part in these considerations as well as keeping our focus upon community sleep impacts from unnecessary increases in night flight activity. Our continuing work will include meeting as many political decision makers as practicable for our purpose.
One welcome difference now over the past few years is that the City of Toronto has indicated that they will be monitoring the activities. We thank Councillor Holyday for his help.
June 14, 2013 - Update To May 22 Working Luncheon with GTAA
With the greatest disappointment we must inform our fellow Markland Wood residents that shortly after 2:00 p. m. on June 14, 2013, after the Marklander was published, we were ‘officially’ advised by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) that Transport Canada had approved their request of December 22, 2011 to increase night flights at Toronto Pearson.
Bitterly, our first alert was through our community contacts in downtown Toronto earlier in the morning that something had been approved. This was particularly distressing given the fact we were promised by the Regional Director of Transport Canada, Ms. Debra Taylor, that she would advise us of the decision directly when it was made, and we still await word from her office five days later, as of this writing. An MWHA Director took it upon himself to go to our Member of Parliament’s office, that of Ted Optiz, where the disappointing news was confirmed by his office staff. Mr. Opitz was in Ottawa and not available. Mr. Optiz’ staff shared that the brief message they had was not a press release but only the briefest note, and that it finished with a statement that a ‘comprehensive report’ was to follow. To the time of this writing, June 18, 2013 we have not been given any such report or further information aside from the GTAA’s mail out notification which also appears on their website. Hence, we await detailed information on Transport Canada’s decision but assume that all of the GTAA’s requested increase was approved.
Together over the past two years we, as an Association and as a Community, clearly communicated to Mr. Opitz that this issue was of the highest priority to our community and like it or not, responsibility for the outcome would lie with him. In addition to Mr. Opitz, we suggest that Marklanders may wish to communicate their thoughts respecting this approval directly to the Minister, the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.
Please visit our website at: http://www.marklandwood.org for possible further updates on this matter throughout the summer.
ON THURSDAY, 28 MARCH, 2013
As of the end of March 2013, there is no known change to the night flights permitted at Toronto Pearson. Nevertheless, in the absence of an announced decision from the Minister’s office and to maintain a focus on protecting our future sleep, we continue communication with relevant people at all three levels of government. In addition, we foster links with other important Toronto community organizations such as the Toronto Aviation Noise Group (T. A. N. G.).
The GTAA has taken on the services of Frontier Economics, a British business service organization specializing in analyzing and presenting the economic importance of various business sectors, including airports. Their Toronto Pearson study, “Engagement Strategy - Global Hub Economic Development Study”, is expected to “produce a compelling and credible story that motivates governments, community stakeholders, and other key opinion leaders to act in ways that support the development and differentiation of Toronto Pearson as a hub airport. An effective engagement strategy and communications plan will be a key element in ensuring maximum impact of the study.”
It would appear that this material would form a major thrust for future GTAA initiatives, which require outside support or legislative amendment. The Frontier Economics website notes, “Our advice helps clients to make better decisions and put their best case. We blend economics with innovative thinking, hard analysis and common sense. This helps us home in fast on market dynamics to create powerful arguments and robust strategies.”
Consultations are to take place throughout 2013, with the “community stakeholders” slated for interview being the Toronto Community Foundation; the Mississauga Community Foundation; Metrolinx, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
We do hope that their selection of contacts for the “community” will become broader and explore residential and lifestyle aspects and impacts of any future airport operational expansion plans, as well as those economic imperatives they hope to demonstrate and feature. We plan to make ourselves available for interview to the authors.
We look forward to the Frontier Economics report.
Richard Boehnke, Airport Committee
ON TUESDAY, 20 NOVEMBER, 2012
Update to November 20, 2012 on our objection to increased night flights at Toronto Pearson.
To the time of writing (Nov 20/12) we understand that the Minister has made no decision on the GTAA’s request to change the 1997 Minister’s letter toward increasing the night flights at Lester B. Pearson International Airport.
As indicated at the Markland Wood Homeowners Association’s Annual General Meeting on October 29, 2012, while no news is good news in this instance, we are taking nothing for granted.
Over the Summer and the Fall we have continued our contacts with federal, provincial and municipal leaders to remind them of our unflagging interest until a decision is reached. We also suggest to them that the nature of the outcome is of political importance to our community, as well as to a growing number of other Toronto neighbourhoods. It happens that recent NavCan decisions realigning flight corridors lacked appropriate consultation with the newly affected Toronto residents. City Council supported Josh Matlow’s motion asking that these NavCan officials meet with City of Toronto. His motion read:
City Council request the City Manager to invite representatives from NAV Canada, the federal Ministry of Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities and any other relevant body to review flight paths to reduce airplane-related noise pollution.
We are pleased to report that Deputy-Mayor Doug Holyday supported Councillor Matlow’s motion. The MWHA certainly appreciates his support.
One can already imagine that if the presence of large aircraft where they were not previously seen on a regular basis is disturbing, these new concerns will only become amplified through adding 50% more night flights to their discomfort. Obviously we must stop this GTAA initiative before approval is given. Reaction will be too late once such permission would be implemented.
Regular contact has also been maintained with other resident organizations both in Etobicoke and in other Toronto communities.
As recently as November 16, 2012, MWHA representatives met with newly confirmed Etobicoke Centre MP, Mr. Ted Opitz. We thanked Mr. Opitz generously for having arranged Transport Minister Lebel’s visit to Etobicoke on July 13, 2012. All in attendance heard the Minister assure us that he had ‘heard our hearts’ on the matter.
It was made clear that Markland Wood residents have very high expectations of Mr. Opitz specifically to ensure that there is no change to the 1997 letter, and people have a lively interest in that outcome to protect our sleep as much as possible. Sleep being a biological essential, is not simply a pleasant frill.
In response, Mr. Opitz indicated that he has become a supporter of our position to retain the status quo of the 1997 letter standard for night flight numbers, and that he would be making important contacts at the next few caucus meetings in Ottawa as well as speaking with M. Lebel.
We also shared with him our most recent disappointment in not being able to host the two leading GTAA officials to a social luncheon in Markland Wood. Surprisingly, and for reasons not given, the new GTAA President and CEO counter offered to meet our Board at the GTAA offices. This was rejected, as it provided no opportunity to introduce these officials to our community.
ON WEDNESDAY, 07 MARCH, 2012
TRANSPORT MINISTER LEBEL'S VISIT JULY 13 2012
Minister Lebel visited July 13, 2012, 4:30 to 5:30 pm
To All Markland Wood Residents,
The efforts of your Markland Wood Homeowners Association (MWHA) to meet in person with Transport Minister Lebel may have bourne fruit.
Etobicoke Center MP Ted Opitz will be hosting a meeting with Federal Transport Minister Denis Lebel at the Etobicoke Civic Center on July 13 from 4:30 to 5:30 pm.
At the meeting, the MWHA will present our staunch objection to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority’s request for increased night flights at Pearson Airport and request that the Minister retain the status quo as established in 1997.
The meeting is public and all are welcome.
While we have not been informed of the exact purpose of the Minister’s visit to Etobicoke Centre, we suspect that Minister Lebel, who has the final say in whether to grant or deny the increased night flights, wishes to meet our community directly.
We request that you discuss this message with your neighbors and encourage them to attend the meeting, as well as visit our website at www.marklandwood.org for more information.
Your Markland Wood Homeowners Association
Say “No” to the GTAA’s proposed night flight increase
As you should be aware, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) has requested an immediate increase in the number of night flights allowed. It needs the approval of the Federal Minister of Transport. Your MWHA Airport Committee has been actively engaging important decision makers personally, both in Toronto and in Ottawa, expressing our objection to any increased allotment of night flights at Toronto Pearson beyond the 1997 Transport Canada formula. Assuming most of you are against more night flights, we need everyone in your household to express this via the insert in this month's MARKLANDER, or online through our website at www.marklandwood.org
The following is a brief synopsis of where things stand at the moment regarding the night flight issue:
On February 28, five MWHA directors travelled to the House of Commons in Ottawa to meet with Mr. Mervin Tweed, the Chairman of the Standing Committee for Transportation and later with Olivia Chow, an NDP committee member.
Parliamentary committees are comprised of elected officials from all parties. Under the direction of the respective Minister, these committees study compelling matters, resolve issues, hold public hearings and formulate legislation that eventually gets tabled in the House of Commons. The legislation is then voted upon in the House and, if passed later, is proclaimed as law. There are parliamentary committees for Defense, Finance, Health, Environment, Immigration, Status of Women, etc. which meet on a scheduled basis. The agendas, documents, votes etc. can be viewed on every committee’s respective website.
Mr. Tweed and Ms. Chow received the MWHA position paper as presented to Transport Canada in Toronto on January 19th and both offered useful strategic considerations to pursue. Our discussions included serious review of the challenges to the economy and to the neighbourhood.
MWHA emphasized again that if economic increases for the GTAA were manifest, they were certainly welcome, but that the night flight budget currently in place be maintained without change. Any flight increases must be worked out during daytime hours and not at the expense of community slumber.
Mr. Tweed was committed to get a status update from Transport Canada on its study of GTAA's application as well as confer with Ted Opitz, MP, and the Minister of Transport, Denis Lebel. We informed Mr. Tweed that Mr. Opitz had requested an appointment with the Minister on our behalf and that we were, and are still, waiting for an opening in his appointment schedule.
Earlier during the day, MHWA attended the offices of the Hill Times and met with its Senior Editor, Ms. Kate Malloy. On March 5, Ms. Malloy published a brief article, authored by MWHA. The Hill Times enjoys wide readership in the Ottawa federal community. The article will be available electronically for distribution.
In addition, on February 17th, the MWHA directors met with Michael Sullivan, MP, in his Weston office. He is also a Transportation Committee member and was very supportive, suggesting a number of strategies as did the others.
On March 3rd, three MWHA directors met with Etobicoke Centre MP Ted Opitz for a second time and followed up on the discussions with Mr. Tweed in Ottawa.
Again, much like the bike lanes issue a couple of years ago and the Power Plant issue of this past year, your voice can make a difference. Please support this petition today and send it in no later than March 24th. We will continue to keep the Markland Wood community informed.
Click on image below to download the Hill Times article.