A Familiar Scene In Toronto

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One Airport To Improve, Or Destroy ...

Toronto's new anti-airport mayor is starting a long process to get rid of the city's unique downtown island airport, claims Canada's biggest pilots' organization. Kevin Psutka, president of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), says the current controversy over a bridge linking the Toronto City Centre Airport (TCCA) with downtown Toronto is the first step in a calculated campaign to eventually close the airport. "It'll probably take five or ten years to all come about," said Psutka. "But before I die [which we assume will be more than 10 years from now; Psutka is a young man] I guarantee you we will have no airport and we will have a bridge." And it is the future of a $22 million bridge project linking the island airport and the city that has set Toronto's aviation community and its political establishment on edge.

Last June, the city council, the Canadian government and the Toronto Port Authority agreed to build the bridge to replace an aging ferry that now shuttles airport users the 150 yards from shore to shore. The project was cheered by the aviation community, which saw it as a major boost to the usability and business potential of the airport. Then-councilor David Miller managed to whip fear of the bridge, and, by extension, the airport, into a successful bid for the mayor's chair and, in his first official act as mayor, held an emergency council meeting whose only topic was a motion to kill the bridge. The motion passed and within hours the federal government announced it would respect the vote. Only the Port Authority can save the bridge project (all three agencies must agree to kill it) and it was unable to reach a decision at a Friday meeting.