Mar 20, 2014

By Michael Kramer

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Toronto City staff say an expansion of the Billy Bishop island airport should be considered only if restrictions on the number of passengers and aircraft are put in place.

The Toronto Port Authority manages the airport and has offered a voluntary interim cap – of about three million local passengers a year.

But staff are recommending that the airport be restricted to 2.4 million -as a precursor to negotiations.

Permission to operate jets would be tied to a limit of 2.7 million passengers.

The staff report opens the door to a proposal to expand the airport but it recommends a phased approach that ties negotiations to demonstrated progress on infrastructure and traffic concerns.

The entire process would be long enough that it would be the next city council that decided whether to approve amendments to the agreement that currently bans jets at the facility.

Meanwhile – Mayoral candidate Karen Stintz has changed her position on the Porter Airlines jets proposal.

Stintz was the first prominent city councillor to express opposition – last April.

But she now says she will support the expansion of the island airport on certain conditions.

Mayor Rob Ford supports the airport expansion and the jets proposal.

Mayoral Candidate Olivia Chow is opposed.

Candidate David Soknacki is supportive – with conditions.

John Tory says he’s very skeptical.

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