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David Collenette Talks Up Pickering

David Collenette’s trial balloon about replacing Toronto Island Airport with a new airport in Pickering has generated the discussion he’d hoped for. Here’s the Toronto Star’s article on his words. Pickering, which thought it had beaten back the issue twenty-five years ago, is understandably angry, and it has generated a fair amount of discussion on the Transit Toronto Mailing List.

It’s important to note that Collenette’s words were a trial balloon. It isn’t to say that he wants to force an airport down Pickering’s throat, but once Pearson’s renovations are completed in 2015, the only way to increase Toronto’s air capacity may be a new airport, and the time to get talking about that is now.

I say, if you want to reduce the pressure on Pearson, it’s time to consider a TGV between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal flights by Air Canada constitute a significant amount of Pearson’s traffic, even though downtown-to-downtown trips between these cities are already competitive by train (and a lot cheaper). Couple this with the proposed high-speed rail link between Pearson and Union (which Collenette says will be in place within four years) and instead of having Pearson-Dorval flights, you could have Pearson-Dorval train trips, removing a lot of flights from the air and freeing up space for flights from other destinations.

Time to line up Air Canada as a potential investor in the TGV trade, I think…

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