Environmental work for project on Oshawa’s First Avenue approved

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Published January 31, 2023 at 3:33 pm

Environmental work on First Avenue in Oshawa – the future home of a massive mixed-use development – got the green light from Oshawa Council Monday morning.

The environmental assessments for soil and groundwater sampling for two properties at 144 and 155 First Avenue will be partly funded by a pair of grants from the City that will allow developer First Oshawa Holdings to recover half the costs.

The EAs will cost approximately $21,500 (144 First Avenue) and $39,500 (155 First Avenue).

The motion was passed without debate and Regional Councillor Brian Nicholson was happy the approvals will allow the development to go ahead. “I believe this is going to be a major positive re-development in our city,” he said. “It’s going to take an old industrial site and make it into a real people’s place. Ten years from now people will look at this as a really positive first step.”

The lands, home to a glass factory for a century and directly across the street from the planned new central Oshawa GO Station, will eventually host a development that will include multiple residential towers with a variety of commercial uses at street level, an urban park and a pedestrian promenade.

It’s early days for the development – no formal applications for redevelopment have been submitted – so other details and timelines have not yet been revealed. Preliminary work has already begun on the GO Station immediately to the north, with the optimistic expectations having the new station up and running in about three years.

News of any development in the area has been a long time coming for residents of the area, which has sat forlorn and forgotten and a far cry from first for more than 20 years. The Knob Hill Farms grocery outlet – at one time the largest grocery store in the country at 226,000 square feet – left town in 2000 and the glass factory followed nine years later, leaving the neighbourhood as a bit of a ghost town.

“It’s all driven by the GO Station,” local councillor John Gray said last spring when the development was announced, adding that it will lead to a major renewal of the area. “That’s what makes it so exciting.”

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