Council clears a (straighter) path for the Island airport’s pedestrian tunnel

Council clears a (straighter) path for the Island airport’s pedestrian tunnel

A Porter turboprop lands at the Island airport (Image: Still The Oldie) 

One of the last pieces of business that city council dealt with on its third day of meetings yesterday was approving a deal with the Toronto Port Authority that would allow a straighter route to the Island airport under the western gap between the water’s edge and the Porter—and, yes, Air Canada, too—hub. The straighter tunnel, plus some other deals, will save the TPA and the city more than $10 million.

According to the Toronto Sun:

The federal government still has to sign off on the Toronto Port Authority’s approximately $60 million project, something they expect will come this fall.

“It’s a good day for the city, the airport is an important asset,” public works committee chairman Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong told reporters after the 24-13 vote. “We couldn’t get a bridge, so we’re getting the next best thing, we’re getting a tunnel.”

Part of the deal would see the city save $10 million by using the tunnel construction to accommodate its own infrastructure upgrade to water mains feeding the Toronto Islands. A dockwall easement the city would give the TPA allows them to build the tunnel along a straight-line route, shaving around $2.5 million off the cost of the project.

It’s nice to see that council and staff can find a win-win every once in a while—even if not everyone is happy. Adam Vaughan says that the city still isn’t addressing “the impact the airport is having on the residents that I represent,” and there’s a legitimate complaint that the city is giving away some land at below-market rates for an airport taxi station (to stop the congestion at the foot of Bathurst). Of course, it’s not like the kumbaya sound coming from council is the result of a huge change of heart—the TPA was going to be able to build this tunnel no matter what, so the city might as well get the best deal possible.

City OKs tunnel to island airport [Toronto Sun]
Toronto Port Authority Pedestrian Tunnel report (PDF) []
City council approves pedestrian tunnel to Toronto island airport [Globe and Mail]