New street name, extra-wide roads up for consideration for new central Oshawa GO station

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Published July 4, 2024 at 10:15 am

Knob Hill Farms Oshawa
The former Knob Hill Farms site in Oshawa. Photo Glenn Hendry

A 200-metre stretch of road east of the planned central GO station in Oshawa could be up for a name change as the City and Metrolinx plan for the oft-delayed and long-awaited new transit station.

The City released Stage 3 in its Major Transit Area Study of the area, which was home to a massive Knob Hill Farms grocery outlet from 1983 to 2000 and the Ontario Malleable Iron factory for 80 years before that, with the report recommending that a larger 30 metre road with expanded roads and sidewalks and boulevards be considered to accommodate the future traffic.

For now, Council’s approved design calls for maintaining First Avenue/McNaughton Avenue as a two-lane road, though staff cautioned it would be prudent to exercise a “high degree of caution” in selecting the road width, given it is “significantly more difficult” to expand the right-of-way in the future.

Councillor John Gray said the City should also look at a single name for the street, which is called First Avenue from Simcoe Street on the west to Drew Street on the edge of the Metrolinx property on the east. McNaughton Avenue takes over the final few hundred metres until the street reaches Ritson Road, when it undergoes another change to Dean Avenue.

“Call it First, or call it Go Train Avenue. There should be consistency.”

The new station, and the revitalization of the surrounding neighbourhood has been on Oshawa’s wish list since former Toronto Maple Leafs owner Steve Stavros abruptly closed the food terminal in 2000.

Since then the site abutting First Avenue has been forlorn and forgotten and far from first in the eyes of city planners, with several attempt to develop it – including earlier promises to build a GO station that fell flat due to remediation and land acquisition costs.

The Knob Hill Farms site in Oshawa. The heritage component in yellow will be preserved. The rest will be demolished for a new GO station

Metrolinx is finally getting to work on the new station, with specialized crews mobilizing this summer to begin the preservation and structural rehabilitation of the heritage component, a two-storey redbrick façade from an 1897 re-build of the Ontario Malleable factory.

Demolition of the rest of the structure (the main warehouse building and generator room) will follow, while continuing additional preservation activities of other heritage elements, which include structural rehabilitation and mothballing of the heritage component in its entirety.

Metrolinx purchased the property at 500 Howard Street in 2014 as part of GO train expansion plans that will see two new stations built in Oshawa – including the central station at the Howard Street site – and two more in Clarington.

Oshawa will hold a public meeting on the Major Transit Area Study in the third quarter of this year following an update to the Economic and Development Services Committee on Stage 4 by planning consultants Parsons Inc.

Regional Councillor Brian Nicholson said the report will be just “one part of the equation” to address big changes in south-central Oshawa, noting there are several other studies ongoing in the area, such as the Bloor-Simcoe Intensification Study.

“I hope that when this comes back for Stage 4 the report cites impacts for the entre community,” he said. “We need the big picture.”

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