Pearson Airport, flight paths and aircraft noise in Leaside

Airplane flies over Leaside. Photo Russell Sutherland.
Airplane flies over Leaside. Photo Russell Sutherland.

In February of 2012, NAV CANADA (an agency responsible for flight operations in Canada) redesigned the arrival routes at Toronto Pearson Airport, which meant a concentration of airplane traffic over Leaside.

The flight path over Leaside now accounts for 40 per cent of all arrivals at Pearson. I have heard from residents negatively impacted by these changes and understand how this has affected their quality of life. There is an average of 85,000 overflights annually, and without changes, this number is expected to increase as the airport grows.

The Toronto Aviation Noise Group (TANG), whose roots originate in Leaside, has been strongly advocating on behalf of our community at official GTAA (Greater Toronto Airport Authority) and NAV CANADA meetings and consultations. I supported their efforts by forming a seven-member Councillor Coalition at City Hall in 2015 and personally engaged the Mayor, who reached out to the Federal Minister of Transportation.

I have learned that many “technical” improvements have been recommended. While both TANG and I welcome these mitigation initiatives, the issue of disproportionate runway utilization remains unresolved. If changes aren’t made, it is estimated that arrivals flying over Leaside will increase to 120,000
by 2037.

I recognize that Pearson Airport is integral to our regional economy, and demand for growing airport services is inevitable. Like every other community in the GTA, Leaside enjoys the benefits of the airport, and we should therefore expect to share the burden of flight traffic. So, what’s fair and balanced? With 10 possible runway options, should Leaside be overburdened with 40 per cent of all arrivals?

To discuss this and other aircraft noise issues, please join me on April 12, 2018 when the GTAA will be hosting a Community Open House at Leaside Memorial Gardens. Please see the link below for noise mitigation information and a link to register for the event.

About Jon Burnside 34 Articles
Jon Burnside is City Councillor for Ward 26.