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.