New signs are up as OPG showcases future HQ in Oshawa

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Published October 11, 2023 at 8:30 am

New OPG HQ

The new, albeit temporary signage is up and the executive suits and local dignitaries have enjoyed their guided tour of what will be the new corporate headquarters for Ontario Power Generation.

All it needs now is for more than 2,000 HQ staff to move in, a task that won’t be completed for another two years.

It was all smiles at the tour, with OPG hosting an open house of the former General Motors of Canada headquarters on Colonel Sam Drive in Oshawa, now undergoing renovations in preparation for full occupancy in 2025.

The decision to moved into the iconic building, with its property overlooking the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife reserve and betwixt Second Marsh on the west and Darlington Provincial Park and the Municipality of Clarington on the east, was not universally acclaimed when OPG made the unexpected decision to move their HQ from downtown Toronto to Oshawa in February.

Clarington, in particular, felt spurned after promises made that the utility giant would open their new corporate offices in Courtice, near Darlington Nuclear and the Courtice Energy Park and just five kilometres east of what will be the new OPG nerve centre.

 

Mayor Adrian Foster said in February the municipality was “discouraged” not to get a heads up on the decision from OPG.

“We are deeply disappointed in the decision to rescind the commitment to build a new corporate headquarters for Ontario Power Generation in Clarington,” Foster said in a statement. “Clarington Council and the local business community have worked for decades to support OPG and the nuclear industry. I cannot begin to convey how discouraged we are with the lack of local engagement in this decision.”

OPG would only say at the time they “revisited” the plan when an “economical, sustainable option” of repurposing an existing building became available.

That became the former GM Canada HQ, which had been largely dormant since the beginning of the pandemic, with GM moving most of its corporate staff to a building closer to the automotive assembly plant.

OPG then has entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale for the GM Canada building and surrounding lands on McLaughlin Bay, much to the displeasure of Foster and Clarington Council.

“I understand the business case in the reversal to build the headquarters in Clarington, but it’s shocking that neither OPG nor the Government of Ontario recognized the ramifications that our community faces,” he said last winter, adding that he hoped to be able to work with OPG, the industry and the Province to “rebuild trust.”

To OPG Chief Administrative and Ethics Officer Mel Hogg, the fact the new headquarters is between the region’s two nuclear plants at Pickering and Darlington is close enough.

“Our relationship with Durham Region and its member municipalities has been so vital to the success of our ongoing operations,” said Hogg. “It only makes sense for OPG’s corporate headquarters to also be here, close to our operations and projects.”

Durham Region Chair John Henry, whose mandate is naturally much broader than Foster’s, was just as naturally delighted with the progress being made at the future OPG HQ.

“Ontario Power Generation is one of Durham Region’s longest-standing partners, and we are thrilled that this clean energy leader is relocating its headquarters here,” said Henry. “This investment solidifies Durham Region’s position as Canada’s Clean Energy Capital. We look forward to seeing this landmark Durham building revitalized and to welcoming OPG staff from across the province.”

The corporate headquarters will bring employees from across the GTA and beyond together in one location. OPG chose to renovate an existing structure, which is more economical than constructing a new building and limits the environmental impact.

The building is also right in the middle of the largest remaining wetland in the GTA. Second Marsh and the McLaughlin Bay Reserve together total nearly 400 hectares of provincially significant natural areas protected under the ownership of the City of Oshawa and is one of the largest publicly accessible waterfront spaces within reach of Toronto.

New OPG HQ

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