Letter: In Defence of Ontario Port Lands

By Letter to the Editor
Published May 07, 2013

Toronto needs the Island airport and, moreover, so do we. I understand that the airplanes there make a lot of noise during takeoff, which is a nuisance to residential and leisure activities. I get it. I get it because I lived in a boat at the bottom of Spadina Street for a summer.

But the fact of the matter is that commercial Toronto harbour is dying a slow death at the hands of Waterfront Toronto and the Waterfront BIA. The last of the city's commercial shipping has been driven East of the Don River where services like electricity and fresh water are almost non-existent.

The industry would likely already have been driven out of the City altogether if legacy ground soil contamination was not holding the condo and real estate industry temporarily at bay. These are dark days indeed.

The expansion of the island airport would take a nail out of the coffin and help Ontario cities realize that they need harbours to remain both places of leisure, residence but also logistical industry.

But why is this important for Toronto and, also, Hamilton? Simply put, if we want to transition to a low-carbon economy we are going to need port infrastructure to still be around when we come to our senses and realize that it makes better sense for imported and exported goods to make landfall not in Montreal but in Toronto and Hamilton.

The fuel and carbon savings are seven times greater than shipping by transport truck. This is important for Toronto. But it's also important for Hamilton, the largest port in Ontario, to remember.

In the future, there will be pressure to convert industrial port lands in our City to residential use. Some is okay, all will bind us to the transport truck for eternity. It may not seem like it but expanding Toronto's island airport is a step in the right direction.

Andrew Fryer Hamilton (Waterdown), Ontario

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