In Fall 2003, there was much confusion surrounding the future of the bridge to the Toronto Island Airport. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper sent this urgent letter to the Minister of Transportation requesting clarification:
Re: Construction of Fixed Link to Toronto City Centre Airport: URGENT REQUEST
Dear Minister Collenette:
Further to recent media announcements, I am writing to express concern over the Toronto Port Authority's (TPA) stated intent to begin construction of the Fixed Link on November 11, 2003.
As you are likely aware, there are a number of outstanding permits, approvals, and conditions which the TPA has yet to demonstrate it has met. Namely: approvals under the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act and satisfaction of the 25 conditions set out by the City of Toronto in the Tripartite Amending Agreement.
In addition to these outstanding approvals, no Responsible Authority other than the Toronto Port Authority (Transport Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Public Works) has announced a decision to proceed with the project pursuant to s.20(1) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
Given that Transport Canada is both a Responsible Authority and the regulating agency for the Toronto Port Authority, we expect that you will ensure no construction takes place before all approvals are secured through fair, public, and transparent processes.
Unlike elected officials, the directors of the Toronto Port Authority do not appear to be charged with protecting the public interest: the Canada Marine Act requires them to protect only the financial interests of the Port Authority. We trust that the federal government will respect any decisions made by democratically elected officials who represent the public interest.
In the meantime, it is imperative that the Federal Responsible Authorities for the Fixed Link project exercise their duty and ensure the project proceeds in a manner consistent with the purposes of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the fundamental principles of democracy and fairness.
We look forward to your prompt reply.
Yours truly, Krystyn Tully Executive Director