The Toronto Port Authority Annual Public Opinion Survey Results

Friday, July 09, 2010

Toronto, ON – An annual survey released today by the Toronto Port Authority (‘TPA’) and conducted by Ipsos Reid assesses various views on its operations, activities and proposed undertakings. The survey of 700 Torontonians included a special oversample of those people living below Queen Street in order to provide a comparison to the other parts of the City. The annual survey has been conducted since 2007 and tracks numerous attitudes, with new elements added this year. The full ppt. report accompanies this release. Some of the key findings are as follows:

Toronto and the Waterfront…

  • Torontonians continue to visit the waterfront with roughly the same frequency as last year. The most common reasons for visiting include attractions, events and entertainment, leisure, walking and recreation…
  • Most (74%) Torontonians think the changes along the waterfront are heading in the right direction, an increase of 10 points over last year…

Attitudes towards the Toronto Port Authority…

  • Few Torontonians (1%) can name the Toronto Port Authority, unaided, as a group or organization involved in the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront. However, once prompted, eight in ten (80%) have heard of the TPA – the proportion of which increases to 85% among those living south of Queen Street.
  • Torontonians most commonly cite ‘governing the port/harbour, maintaining the waterfront, running the airport and regulating watercraft’ as being among the TPA’s responsibilities. While slightly more Torontonians have a favourable impression of the TPA this year, most have a fair impression or are indifferent. Once Torontonians learn of the various activities in which the TPA is involved, they say these things improve their impression – even more so than last year.
  • A majority agrees the TPA plays a vital role, is important for the economy of the city, and should help the city grow in an environmentally-responsible way...Just two in ten (21%) Torontonians believe that the TPA should be disbanded, compared to 72% who believe it should remain independent from the city.

Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport…

  • Most (70%) Torontonians are familiar with the Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport...Most (63%) are personally in favour of having an airport on the island and believe it’s good for the City of Toronto, including 65% of those living south of Queen Street.
  • A majority (63%) of Torontonians and 65% of those living South of Queen are ‘personally in favour of having an airport on the island, and believe it’s good for Toronto’;
  • Roughly, 1 in 10 (12%) Torontonians (15% South of Queen Street) oppose the airport (‘I'm personally dead set against having an airport on the island and believe it's bad for Toronto’); and ,
  • 23% of Torontonians (19% South of Queen Street) ‘really don't care one way or the other about having an airport on the island’.
  • Two in three (65%) agree that the airport is an important part of Toronto’s future economic growth.
  • Most (75%) residents of Toronto don’t hear any noise at all associated with airplanes that land at/take off from Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport. A majority (58%) of those living south of Queen Street don’t hear any noise either. Two in ten (20%) living south of Queen hears ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ of noise.
  • Among those who do hear noise (25%), one quarter (25%) think it’s bothersome (7% very/18% somewhat) — 24% of those South of Queen (5% very/19% somewhat) – while three quarters (75%) aren’t bothered by it (‘not really’ 29%/ ‘not really’ 46%)—South of Queen Street is 35% ‘not really’ and 40% ‘not at all’.
  • As such, 6% of all of those in Toronto (and those South of Queen Street) are “bothered” by noise from the airport.

Pedestrian Tunnel to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport…

  • A majority (56%) of Torontonians support a pedestrian tunnel to the airport. Although down from last year (-6 points), the question asked was not identical (this year references cost/financing of approximately $45 million to be paid for by airport passenger user fees, not with taxpayer dollars.)
  • Once hearing that a tunnel will have the capacity to carry a new water main out to the islands in the harbour for residents and services there, three in ten (30%) say they become more likely to support the tunnel.
  • Most (57%) agree that a ferry is not an efficient way for pedestrians to access the airport, and that a pedestrian tunnel is the best way to increase access to the island (62%).

Having the Last Word(s)…

At the end of the questionnaire, respondents were asked to list any issues or concerns that they have personally about the operation or impact of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport. Respondents were given a non-prompted, open-ended opportunity to respond—and were probed for up to three concerns. The individual and aggregate coded responses are as follows:

Airport Concerns (Net) - 11%*
There will be an accident/ plane crash - 3%
Too many planes/ flights - 2%
Don't want it to expand/ stay small - 2%
No need/ does not belong there - 1%
It's just the beginning-it's going to get more planes and make it worse - 1%
Do not want large(r) aircraft(s)/ jets - 1%
Use a larger/ different airport - 1%

Residential Issues (Net) - 9%* Noise - 5%
Waterfront is becoming too crowded/ busy - 1%
Cost to the taxpayers - 1%
Residents are more affected/ nuisance - 1%
Traffic congestion - 1%

Environmental Concerns (Net) - 6%*
Air Pollution - 3%
All other environmental concerns - 2%
Water Pollution - 2%

Expansion (Net) - 4%*
Do not like the idea of the tunnel / underpass - 2%
Prefer if they built a bridge/ overpass/ walkway - 1%
Should be mixed-use space/ for various activities - 1%

Other (Net) - 11%* Other - 6%
Waste of money/ money could be spent on other things - 2%
Ruins the view/ don't like seeing planes - 1%
Want to keep the ferry - 1%

None - 28%*

DK/NS - 44%*

*Note: totals may not add to 100% due to multiple answers or ‘rounding’.

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted for the Toronto Port Authority conducted from May 27 to June 7, 2010. Elements of the study are tracked from 2007 (yearly) with some new questions added this year. A representative randomly-selected sample of 700 adults living in Toronto was interviewed by telephone. ‘City section’, gender and age quotas were implemented to ensure a balanced representation across the city, and an over-sample in the downtown area south of Queen Street was also employed. Note: Oversample 'South of Queen Street': Commenced FSA M6K in the west (eastern shore of the Humber Bay, where Parkside meets the Queensway), and then continued along the waterfront and downtown South of Queen to FSA M4M East of downtown.The distribution of the sample was: Old Toronto South of Queen (Harbourfront) n = 300 / North of Queen n = 100; Scarborough n =75; Etobicoke n =75; York/East York n =75; North York n =75. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Toronto population according to Census data. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 3.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population of Toronto been surveyed. The margin for error for the ‘Old City of Toronto’ is ± 5.0 percentage points; in the South of Queen district is ± 5.7 percentage points; in Old Toronto North of Queen it is ± 9.8 percentage points, and in the other sections it is ± 11.3 percentage points in each part. The margin of error will be larger for other sub-groupings of the survey population. Inter-item contamination/bias potential within the survey instrument was avoided through an iterative technique of questioning…item bank statements and other question areas were randomized to lessen impact wherever possible.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
John Wright
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Reid Public Affairs
(416) 324-2002

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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The Toronto Port Authority 
Annual Public Opinion Survey Results


John Wright
Senior Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs