Pickering Airport rises again/Pearson punished in poll/Deal of the day: Arizona
Here we go again.
The federal government today unveiled plans to resurrect the highly controversial Pickering Airport east of Toronto; a move that surely will spark huge environmental protests.
The airport was talked about decades ago and land acquired by the feds in 1972, causing a lot of grief to folks in the area. The plan was later mothballed, leaving many people's lives up in the air. The Pickering Lands encompass approximately 18,600 acres of land in Pickering, Markham and Uxbridge.
Today, at a press conference, Finance MInister Jim Flaherty and others from the Harper government unveiled a new Pickering airport plan, part of what they call a '''balanced approach" that sets aside land for not only airplanes but economic development and for the Rouge National Urban Park.
"For residents of Durham Region and the GTA, the Harper government is ending decades of uncertainty about the future of the Pickering Lands," said Flaherty. "There will be land for an airport, there will be urban and industrial development and there will be considerable green space on these lands. We are striking a responsible balance that will allow us to preserve our quality of life, while creating jobs and long-term prosperity in Durham Region and the GTA. With the Buttonville Airport closing, with Highway 407 being extended eastward, and now clarity around the Pickering Lands, Durham Region is well positioned to be a hub for transportation, business development and job creation."
"As we protect land for a future airport, a considerable tract of land will also be made available for job-creating development that will bring new opportunities to Pickering and Durham Region," Flaherty said.
As part of the Harper government's continuing commitment to plan for, protect and responsibly manage the federally owned Pickering Lands and promote the region's continued development and economic prosperity, Transport Canada plans to transfer nearly 5,000 acres from these lands to Parks Canada towards the creation of Rouge National Urban Park.
The new park will be more than 13 times the size of Stanley Park in Vancouver, officials said.
Sounds decent in theory. But I suspect there will be a lot of controversy. And I'm not sure what airlines will want to use Pickering, versus Pearson.
Don't forget what a white elephant Mirabel became after officials built Montreal's new airport way out in the sticks a couple decades ago....
Pearson punished in poll
We still don’t like it. But it may be winning our grudging respect.
On the other hand, 49.1 per cent of folks named Pearson as the most improved airport. So perhaps the changes they’ve made lately, including new food options and moves to make security lineups shorter, are working.
Asked to name the worst airport in Canada, the overwhelming majority of respondents gave the nod to Toronto. Second was Pierre Trudeau airport in Montreal at 12.8 per cent, then Vancouver (8.1). I suspect there's an element of "familiarity breeds contempt" at work here, in that far more Canadians travel through Pearson than any other airport in the country.
Trip Advisor tricked
Many of us have often wondered about the veracity of hotel reviews we find on the Internet. Now we know why.
Accor's general manager of communications has put TripAdvisor reviews
into question again by acknowledging that he posted more than 100 hotel
reviews on the site using a made up name, travelmole.com reports.
Peter Hook, an Accor general manager of communications based in Sydney, has been posting generally good reviews of Accor properties and mostly critical reviews of its competitors for the past few years, travelmole said. He was identified by Kwikchex, a software company, after allegedly writing up favourable comments on Accor properties.
Hook acknowledged that he wrote the reviews under the name Tavare, and told the Telegraph that "every review I have written has resulted from personally experiencing the product".
Noting that he regularly reviews destinations, attractions, restaurants, and other non-hotel products, he said that "because I cover such a wide range of travel experiences, it would not be appropriate to review them as a company representative, hence the pseudonym. However, it is a fair to say that my professional position should have been mentioned in any reviews of hotels".
Hook said he will desist from writing any more hotel reviews.
Light saber scare
Not even Chewbacca and his light saber get a free pass with airport security before being cleared to travel.
Transportation Security Administration agents in Denver briefly stopped Star Wars franchise actor Peter Mayhew (on the right) recently as he was boarding a flight with a cane shaped like one of science-fiction's most iconic weapons.
Airport officials say they wanted to inspect the huge walking stick before allowing Mayhew, who is more than 7 feet tall, on the plane.
Bye bye to room service?
The good news is you won’t be looking at a menu for an overpriced cheeseburger. The bad news is you might have to slip on some clothes and sneak down to the lobby for a late-night snack.
In one of the more interesting experiments I’ve seen in the travel business in some time, the Hilton Midtown hotel in New York City says it’s going to eliminate room service. Entirely. Instead, hotel officials say they’ll open a self-service food shop in the lobby.
Reuters reports that Hilton officials said the move was prompted by cutbacks in spending by business travelers, many of whom face tight expense-account rules, and the changing tastes of leisure travelers,Air safer than cruising?
A recent Harris Poll in the U.S. found that perceived quality of major cruise lines is down since the Carnival Triumph fire in the Caribbean earlier this year.
More worrisome for the industry is that half of Americans (51 per cent) said they were less likely to take a cruise now than a year ago.
None of that seems surprising. But I was taken aback to see that 62 per cent of respondents feel air travel is more reliable than cruising and that 56 per cent agreed that air travel is safer than a cruise.
That’s definitely something for cruise folks to worry about.
Jaunt.ca deal of the day
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a deal today for a trip to sunny (wouldn't that be nice?) Arizona, priced at $742, including $143 in taxes.
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- 5-night stay at the Hotel Indigo Scottsdale, located in Downtown Scottsdale
- A boutique hotel means more attentive service and a more intimate feel
- The hotel's shuttle service will take you anywhere within three miles of the property, so you'll have no trouble checking out downtown Scottsdale's vibrant art scene, scrumptious restaurants and historical, Wild West charm
- Valid for travel on July 5, 2013
- Includes return air from Toronto to Phoenix
- Accommodations in a Standard room, featuring 2 queen-size beds or 1 king-size bed . Maximum occupancy: 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children
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- Pricing (Rates are per person, plus tax):
Toronto with Car Rental:
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