Port at a Glance
No Need to Delay Oshawa Waterfront Development
Oshawa – The Oshawa Port Authority’s Annual General Meeting earlier this month, was an opportunity to provide the public with details about the port’s successes over the past year and answer questions about industry at the port.
In a city where jobs at General Motors are uncertain, generating investment and employment opportunities matter. Over the past several years, the port has made substantial investments to support the growing demands of local and regional businesses. These include a $10 million dock expansion to accommodate more cargo as well as a new 48,000 square foot warehouse for storing specialty steel piping that’s used in building construction. This is in addition to the $4.1 million rail spur and $2.5 million cargo pad, neither of which is funded by taxpayer dollars.
During the Annual General Meeting, it was confirmed that the Oshawa Port Authority and FarmTech Energy Corporation are in arbitration. As a result, neither the OPA nor FarmTech are permitted to discuss that process until it concludes. When it does, the outcome will be made public.
Mayor John Henry has suggested that the City’s waterfront cannot be developed until the future of FarmTech is decided. Any reasonably informed taxpayer should be asking why not, especially when development opportunities aren’t limited to land next to the port.
Given that the city has a vast stretch of waterfront that could be developed, why focus exclusively on building homes beside a port that supports a variety of industry, including salt, potash, steel, a sewage treatment plant, cement and asphalt facility? It seems remiss not to consider all of the options, including residential or commercial development at any number of waterfront locations. This makes sense, given that the Mayor and City have acknowledged the port’s important role in the economy and have pledged to encourage its expansion and development as part of the 2010 Settlement Agreement.
Back in February, Oshawa’s Services Committee provided terms of reference for companies that may be interested in proposing plans to develop a marina at the harbour. If companies have come forward, those proposals should be made public.
For years, there’s been a lot of talk. If the City truly is serious about moving forward with waterfront development, it should be encouraged to share proposals and provide some assurance to taxpayers that it has the money to make it happen, without raising property taxes which are already among the highest in Canada.
President/CEO and Harbourmaster
1621 Simcoe Street South
Canada L1H 8J7
Phone: (905) 576-0400
Fax: (905) 576-5701