As is common with many community meetings, the organizers and facilitators from the GTAA (Greater Toronto Airports Authority) seemed to outnumber the good citizens of Weston in attendance. A series of information boards lined the walls of the Pelmo Park Community Centre along with airport staff there to elaborate on facts and figures and review the initiatives currently under way at Pearson. The main area of complaints from residents is undoubtedly that of noise and staff were able to explain to those interested the details of various flight patterns. The loudest time for Westonians is whenever there is an east wind and planes are taking off over Weston. This happens 40% of the time; people to the west of the airport have the lion’s share of take-off noise.
Another interesting fact that emerged is that the airport employs nearly 40,000 people of whom about 1000 live in Weston.
I asked about the occasional kerosene smell that seems to drift down from the airport during the winter months. The best thing to do is to phone in a report whenever there is a concern about noise or whatever. Reports are all logged and treated seriously.
A couple of items of news: the airport link which connects Terminals 1, 3 and the Value Parking Lot will be closed from March 19th until October to allow for the construction of the U.P. Express Station that will link the airport with Weston and downtown. Shuttle buses will move people between terminals until then.
Mike Sullivan was able to chat briefly and mentioned that people shouldn’t get their hopes up about electrification of the U.P.Express trains. While Ontario Minister of Transportation Glen Murray has promised that electrification will begin in 2017, he has never made a commitment as to when it will be completed. You can watch the Minister waffling around in response to a couple of very clear Jonah Schein questions. Sullivan also mentioned that given the total cost to the taxpayer of the U.P. Express, it would have cost the same amount to have put in a subway line since the addition of a fourth track (necessary for all day GO service) will require tunnelling under the 401, one lane at a time at a cost of $400,000,000.
To contact the GTAA about Pearson Airport noise or other concerns, phone (416) 776-5739
or email: community.engagement@GTAA.com