Vol. 145, No. 27 — July 2, 2011
ARCHIVED — Regulations Amending the Toronto Port Authority Regulations
Canada Marine Act
Department of Transport
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
Issue: Air passenger traffic at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (the Airport) has grown significantly in the past few years and is expected to continue to increase. During peak times, the number of passengers may exceed the capacity of the existing ferry service and related facilities, resulting in increased wait times, passenger crowding, and congestion. The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) has proposed the construction of a pedestrian tunnel to more efficiently manage passenger flows between the Airport and mainland Toronto.
Description: As the existing Regulations, the Toronto Port Authority Regulations prohibit the TPA from using the port for the construction of a bridge or similar fixed link between mainland Toronto and the Toronto Islands, the proposed regulatory amendment seeks to remove this prohibition as it relates to a pedestrian tunnel.
Cost-benefit statement: A pedestrian tunnel would provide air passengers with an additional access point, which would enable passengers to quickly and efficiently travel between downtown Toronto and the Airport. A pedestrian tunnel would also provide reliable access to the Airport.
The TPA, which manages the Airport, has stated that the costs for the pedestrian tunnel will be funded through a mix of private sector financing and the Airport Improvement Fee (i.e. user pays).
A recent environmental assessment of the pedestrian tunnel project concluded that, although some minor and short-term nuisance effects are expected during the pedestrian tunnel’s construction period, long-term effects, if any, are expected to be negligible once the pedestrian tunnel is operational.
Business and consumer impacts:
- A pedestrian tunnel would provide air passengers with convenient and efficient access between the Airport and mainland Toronto. It would also relieve the congestion currently experienced during peak times in the terminal facilities and on the mainland, without disrupting or increasing the level of marine traffic crossing the Western Gap;
- In the event of an emergency or during those times that the ferry is not operating, a pedestrian tunnel would provide reliable, round-the-clock access to and from the Airport;
- The proposed regulatory amendment would not change any limitations or restrictions in place related to air operations; and
- An environmental assessment of the pedestrian tunnel project concluded that, while there may be some short-term increases in noise and dust levels during the construction period, there would be no direct effects when the pedestrian tunnel is operational.
The operation of the Airport is governed by the 1983 Tripartite Agreement between the TPA, the City of Toronto, and the Government of Canada. Under the Tripartite Agreement, the TPA is obliged to manage the Airport in an efficient, business-like manner, including providing proper access to the Airport facility. The Tripartite Agreement also sets out a number of limitations and restrictions regarding air operations, e.g. aircraft type, hours of operation, noise levels. Pursuant to the Tripartite Agreement and its Letters Patent, the TPA is responsible for the management and operation of the Airport. The TPA is not an agent of the Crown under the Canada Marine Act with respect to the Airport.
Over the past few years, air passenger traffic has increased significantly. The number of air passengers has increased from under 29 000 in 2005 to over 1.1 million in 2010.
Although there is a ferry service used to transport passengers, the Airport is currently experiencing heavy congestion. During peak times, the accumulation of passengers in the ferry transfer facilities often exceeds their capacity, resulting in passenger crowding and increased wait times to board the ferry.
The number of air passengers is expected to continue to increase in the future, with additional air services as of May 2011. The existing ferry service will not be sufficient to handle the projected increase in air passengers to the same level of service.
To help manage passenger flows more efficiently, the TPA has proposed the construction of a pedestrian tunnel. However, the existing Regulations, the Toronto Port Authority Regulations (the Regulations), prohibit the TPA from using, authorizing, or permitting another person to use the port to build a bridge or similar fixed link between mainland Toronto and the Toronto Islands.
The proposed amendment to the Regulations to remove the prohibition as it relates to a pedestrian tunnel would
- facilitate the efficient management of Airport services and passengers; and
- promote optimal use of the Airport infrastructure.
The proposed regulatory amendment would expressly state that the existing prohibition would not apply in respect of a pedestrian tunnel. As well, the pedestrian tunnel may accommodate some equipment to help transport baggage and for maintenance activities.
The proposed pedestrian tunnel would complement the existing ferry service, which would continue to transport passengers and motor vehicles such as cars, trucks, and maintenance vehicles. The proposed pedestrian tunnel would be underneath the Western Gap and would link the main terminal of the Airport to a connecting structure at the mainland ferry passenger transfer facility.
The proposed regulatory amendment would not change the terms of the Tripartite Agreement. Conditions relating to air operations would continue to be in effect.
Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered
A regulatory amendment is proposed as the construction of a pedestrian tunnel is prohibited by the existing Regulations, as it is considered a fixed link between mainland Toronto and the Toronto Islands.
The construction of a bridge would also require a regulatory amendment. As well, the TPA has indicated that a bridge would have more significant short- and long-term impacts relative to a pedestrian tunnel. As a bridge would have a larger physical footprint than a tunnel, this would result in significant environmental impacts on the Toronto Island and the mainland, as well in the Western Gap (e.g. on navigable waters). A bridge would also lead to a loss in local green space currently used for recreational activities. Changes would also be required to the existing roads and facilities (e.g. parking lots) on both the mainland and the Toronto Island, and would disrupt traffic flows.
In the absence of a pedestrian tunnel or a bridge, a second ferry would be needed to transport air passengers. The TPA has stated that operating two ferries at the same time would significantly increase the number of ferry crossings, which would disrupt other marine activities in the Western Gap. Based on past surveys, as many as 45 000 vessels pass through the channel on an annual basis, including recreational boaters, commercial shippers, and tour boat operators.
Benefits and costs
Two traffic analyses conducted for the TPA in 2010 and 2011 found that the Airport is experiencing passenger and traffic congestion. During peak times, there can be up to 980 inbound and outbound passengers within a short timeframe. The two ferry passenger transfer facilities were each designed to cope with a passenger load of 90 passengers, while the ferry has a maximum capacity of 200 persons. With a single ferry on a 15-minute cycle, the accumulation of passengers in the ferry transfer facilities often exceeds their capacity, resulting in passenger crowding and increased wait times to board the ferry. At the Island facility, passengers can be backed up into the corridors to the air terminal during peak times. On the mainland side, up to 200 people disembark the ferry at the same time, causing heavy congestion related to ground transportation (e.g. taxis, private vehicles).
Passenger and traffic congestion is expected to worsen in the future as the number of air passengers continues to increase. A pedestrian tunnel would provide an additional access option that would be convenient for air passengers, reduce congestion, and facilitate more efficient Airport terminal operations and passenger movement.
A pedestrian tunnel would provide reliable, round-the-clock access between the Airport and mainland Toronto in the event of an emergency or should the ferry be unable to operate due to inclement weather, for example. Currently, the ferry service to the Airport does not operate between midnight and 5:30 a.m. As well, the ferry has been unable to operate due to unsafe sailing conditions such as high winds.
The TPA has stated that the costs for the pedestrian tunnel will be funded through a mix of private sector financing and the Airport Improvement Fee. Airport authorities and operators routinely undertake airport infrastructure improvements to support efficient airport operations and manage passenger flows. By using the Airport Improvement Fee, passengers would fund airport improvements (i.e. user pays), which is consistent with the approach to funding capital projects at other Canadian airports.
A detailed environmental assessment of the pedestrian tunnel project was completed in April 2011. The environmental assessment examined the potential impact of the pedestrian tunnel project on the local biophysical environment (e.g. air quality, fish habitat, species at risk, vegetation and wildlife), as well as potential social and economic impacts (e.g. socio-economic conditions, physical/cultural heritage). The environmental assessment concluded that some minor, localized and short-term nuisance effects (e.g. noise, dust) are expected during the pedestrian tunnel’s construction period and that very minor to no effects are expected once the pedestrian tunnel is operational. The environmental assessment also recommended mitigation strategies, where potential effects of the pedestrian tunnel project were identified. The TPA has stated that all recommendations will be addressed during the project’s design and construction phases.
Transport Canada consulted local stakeholders and the general public on the proposed regulatory amendment between February 10 and March 18, 2011. Key stakeholders were directly informed that the Department intended to amend the existing Regulations and that stakeholders had the opportunity to provide any comments. As well, public notices were placed in three Toronto area newspapers, soliciting written comments from the public.
Transport Canada received a total of 38 written submissions. Of this number, 16 were from individuals and community associations, including local residents and Airport users, 15 were from local businesses and business associations, and 5 were from various levels of government. Although 2 of the 38 submissions committed to providing comments, none had been received by the closing date of the consultation period.
Of the 36 submissions that included comments, half were in support of a pedestrian tunnel:
- Some private citizens and community associations were in support of a pedestrian tunnel, as it would provide an additional access point to the Airport that would be more convenient and reliable than the existing ferry service alone;
- Local businesses and business associations stated that a pedestrian tunnel would reduce congestion and increase access to Toronto’s downtown core, with resultant tourism and other economic benefits; and
- In addition to promoting economic development, members of the municipal and provincial governments saw the pedestrian tunnel as a key part of the city’s transportation network.
About half of the written submissions received were not in support of a pedestrian tunnel. Some private citizens and community associations were concerned that a pedestrian tunnel would increase the number of flights per day, resulting in increased air and noise pollution. Based on the Tripartite Agreement, the number of flights at the Airport is limited to a total of 212 landings and takeoffs per day. In order to manage this limited capacity, the TPA has introduced a slot control process. The purpose of the proposed pedestrian tunnel is to manage air passenger flows more efficiently and reduce congestion at the Airport and on the mainland. The pedestrian tunnel in and of itself will not lead to more flights as this is determined by airport demand from airlines and limited by the available slots at the Airport.
There were also some concerns regarding the perceived use of public funds to build and operate the pedestrian tunnel as it was not considered an appropriate use of these funds. As noted previously, the costs for the pedestrian tunnel will be funded through a mix of private sector financing and the Airport Improvement Fee, which is paid by the air passengers.
The existing Regulations, which were put in place in 2005, were intended to be responsive to the views of the citizens of Toronto as represented by the former mayor and City Council, which were not in support of a bridge.
Since then, there has been growing support for a pedestrian tunnel. The current mayor and some members of the City Council have confirmed their support for a pedestrian tunnel. As well, a public opinion survey conducted in 2010 for the TPA found that
- the majority of Torontonians and over half of those living south of Queen Street support the construction of a pedestrian tunnel;
- 57% agree that a ferry service for a short distance is not an efficient way for pedestrians to access the Airport; and
- 62% percent agree that a pedestrian tunnel is the best way to increase access to the Airport.
With significant increases in the number of air passengers, a pedestrian tunnel would relieve passenger and traffic congestion by providing an additional access point for air passengers to quickly and efficiently travel between downtown Toronto and the Airport. This would support more efficient passenger movement, without disrupting other marine activities in that area. In the event of an emergency or at times when the ferry is not operating, a pedestrian tunnel would provide reliable, round-the-clock access to and from the Airport.
As well, a number of stakeholders stated during the consultation process that increased access to Toronto would make it a more attractive destination for travellers and businesses, resulting in increased tourism and other economic benefits. In addition, the environmental assessment noted the potential for limited new retail/concession space, which could create some services or economic benefits.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
The existing enforcement provisions would continue to apply to the construction of a bridge or any other fixed link between mainland Toronto and the Toronto Islands.
Section 127 of the Canada Marine Act provides that a person that contravenes regulations under the Canada Marine Act for which no penalty is otherwise provided is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not more than $5,000 in the case of an individual and of not more than $50,000 in the case of a corporation.
In addition, section 128 of the Canada Marine Act provides that when an offence under this Act is committed by a person on more than one day or is continued for more than one day, it is deemed to be a separate offence for each day on which it is committed or continued.
Performance measurement and evaluation
Given the limited scope of the proposed amendments and the Toronto Port Authority Regulations, no formal performance measurement and evaluation measures would be required.
Place de Ville, Tower C, 25th Floor
330 Sparks Street
Notice is hereby given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to paragraph 62(1)(b) of the Canada Marine Act (see footnote a), proposes to make the annexed Regulations Amending the Toronto Port Authority Regulations.
Interested persons may make representations to the Minister of Transport concerning the proposed Regulations within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must be in writing and cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be sent to Tim Meisner, Director General, Marine Policy, Department of Transport, Place de Ville, Tower C, 25th Floor, 330 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5 (fax: 613-998-1845; e-mail: TPAregulations-APTreglements@tc.gc.ca).
Ottawa, June 16, 2011
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council
REGULATIONS AMENDING THE TORONTO PORT AUTHORITY REGULATIONS
1. Section 2 of the Toronto Port Authority Regulations (see footnote 1) and the heading before it are replaced by the following:
2. Section 1 does not apply in respect of a pedestrian tunnel.
COMING INTO FORCE
3. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.
S.C. 1998, c. 10