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Mayor Rob Ford backs jets at Toronto’s island airport

Apr 11, 2013 12:49:00 PM - thestar.com

Mayor Rob Ford backs Porter Airlines’ desire to introduce jet service to the Toronto Island airport.

Ford said he has no problem with lengthening the runway at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to handle Bombardier’s CSeries100 jets.

Such a move would require amending the 1983 tripartite agreement between the city, federal government and Toronto Port Authority that prohibits jets and runway expansion.

“I don’t have a problem with it,” Ford told reporters in a city hall scrum.

“The extension of the runway, obviously there’s an agreement through three levels that we have to obviously reopen. Overall I don’t see this being a bad thing, I think it’s a good thing.”

Ford, who said he spoke with Porter founder Robert Deluce a few days ago, would be concerned if the jets were noisy but he’s been assured that’s not a problem.

“If these jets are as quiet as they say they are, it creates jobs, it’s great for business,” the mayor said. “Again, the only thing I’m worried about is noise, but they’re saying it’s very quiet. So if there’s not a noise issue, then there’s really not an issue.”

Observers expect a tough fight at council, but Ford said he can’t see why Porter’s request would be turned down.

“I don’t see really what the downfall is. This is great. We’re creating jobs. Porter’s been a huge asset to the city. You go over there, it runs very efficiently.”

Ford added it’s OK with him if the airport becomes an issue in next year’s municipal election.

“It’s all right. Like I said, I don’t pull any punches. I support Mr. Deluce and like I said Billy Bishop airport and Porter Airlines. Now, if they want to expand, and you know it helps out people and it helps out businesses and it creates jobs, there’s no downfall to it.”

The mayor, who also backs a casino in Toronto, was asked if he was concerned the proposal for a large downtown casino may get a rough ride when it reaches council’s executive committee next week.

“I’m not concerned. I think we’ll be OK, and we’ll see what happens on Monday and Tuesday.”

Asked if he had any thoughts of deferring the issue to a later meeting, Ford said: “Again, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it but as of now, we’re bringing it forward on Monday and Tuesday and we’ll take it from there.”

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