The owner of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, PortsToronto, has recently requested discussions on updating the Tripartite Agreement that governs the waterfront airport. The agreement, which was signed in 1983 and set to expire in 2033, will need to be reopened nearly a decade early due to new federal safety requirements.
One of the main reasons behind the need to update the agreement is the federal requirement for additional Runway End Safety Areas (RESA) at Billy Bishop Airport. These safety areas are necessary to ensure the airport meets the latest safety standards. Completing the RESA by mid-2027 will involve changes to the existing agreement and long-term financial planning that requires certainty beyond 2033.
While it remains unclear whether the reopening of the agreement will reignite the debate on jets at the island airport, it is worth noting that in 2015, the Trudeau government rejected a proposal by Porter Airlines to amend the agreement to allow for runway expansions and jets. The decision was met with both support and opposition from the public, with concerns raised about increased noise pollution and negative environmental impacts.
City staff are currently working on a report that will address the issue of RESA requirements and outline PortsToronto’s objectives related to the Tripartite Agreement. The report is expected to be presented at a meeting in January 2024 and will provide recommendations on how the City can engage in this work.
As the discussions unfold, all stakeholders, including Mayor Olivia Chow, will carefully consider the implications of any proposed changes. Transparency and public participation will be vital in ensuring that decisions are made in the best interest of the community.
What is the Tripartite Agreement?
The Tripartite Agreement is a contract signed in 1983 between Billy Bishop operator PortsToronto, the City of Toronto, and the federal government that governs the operations of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Why does the Tripartite Agreement need to be reopened?
The agreement needs to be reopened due to new federal safety requirements, specifically the need for additional Runway End Safety Areas (RESA) at Billy Bishop Airport.
What were the previous debates regarding jets at the airport?
Porter Airlines proposed amending the agreement to allow for runway expansions and jets, which was met with opposition from groups concerned about noise pollution and environmental impacts. The proposal was ultimately rejected by the Trudeau government in 2015.
What happens next?
City staff are preparing a report on the issue, which will be presented to Mayor Olivia Chow’s executive committee in January 2024. The report will outline PortsToronto’s objectives and provide recommendations on how the City can engage in the process. Mayor Chow will examine the proposal and ensure a transparent public process before making any decisions.