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Public consultation held on Porter expansion

Porter Airlines is the subject of another public consultation on Monday, this time to discuss the airline’s proposed expansion.

Last year, Porter signed a $2.08-billion deal with Bombardier to buy up to 30 CS100 jets. The airline is seeking permission from the city to lift a ban on flying jets out of the island airport and expand its runway there by 200 metres on each end.

The city’s executive committee will consider the expansion on Feb. 4.

During Monday’s consultation, city staff made a short presentation, and then took comments and questions from the audience.

“This meeting is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for all of you to raise issues around the proposal,” Coun. Pam McConnell stated as the meeting began. “The entire process of this consultation is terribly, terribly important to our community. It’s very important to the future of our city.”

Sixty-four people were schedule to speak in front of a packed council chambers. The meeting was scheduled to last from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Toronto City Hall, but has extended into the evening.

Porter attended the meeting as an observer, but has not been asked to make a presentation or have a formal role by city staff, spokesman Brad Cicero said in an email.

The Toronto Board of Health is against the expansion and voted unanimously to recommend that the city reject the Porter expansion plan.

Two of Toronto’s former mayors are also against the proposal.

David Miller — who was Toronto’s mayor from 2003-2010 and is the current CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada — said extending the runway into Lake Ontario puts the area’s environmental and economic future at risk.

David Crombie, who served as the city’s mayor from 1972-1978, said the expansion would have a negative impact on the environment and residents who live in the neighbourhood.

Mayor Rob Ford, former Leafs legend Doug Gilmour and Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey all support the expansion.

With files from The Canadian Press