OPG to continue to champion Clarington as a “clean energy leader” despite reversal on HQ

By

Published February 14, 2023 at 8:42 am

What OPG envisioned its HQ would look like when they announced their impending move to Clarington in 2019

Ontario Power Generation will “continue to champion Clarington as a clean energy technology leader” despite reneging on a commitment to build their new head office in Oshawa instead of the Courtice waterfront.

OPG had previously announced plans to construct its new headquarters in the Clarington Energy Park, adjacent to its Darlington Energy Complex. But the company said in a statement they “revisited” the plan when an “economical, sustainable option” of repurposing an existing building became available.

That ‘option’ was revealed Monday when the utility giant announced it had bought the former General Motors Canada headquarters on Colonel Sam Drive in Oshawa, along with some of the property abutting McLaughlin Bay. The building will serve as the company’s new corporate headquarters.

The decision took Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster by surprise and Monday’s OPG announcement was followed quickly by Foster stating he was “deeply disappointed” by the news.

“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. “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.”

Clarington has identified the Courtice Waterfront as a priority in its 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, with the Clarington Energy Park as its centrepiece, and approved funding for their Waterfront Design Plan to accelerate the project last year.

Clarington CAO Mary-Anne Dempster said OPG has set a “troubling precedent” by going back on the decision announced four years ago to build a consolidated headquarters in the community.

The loss of 2,000 jobs and the infrastructure and revenue the project would bring in will “directly impact” Clarington’s future, she added.

“Going back on that decision — without any kind of consultation or even a warning — not only deprives our community of investment, but it sets a troubling precedent for future partnerships.”

Clarington Energy Park

OPG, however, reminded Foster and his Council that the company remains the municipality’s biggest employer.

“Refurbishment of the existing Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, which means another 30 years of clean electricity production, and construction of a small modular reactor at the Darlington New Nuclear Project site, where site preparation is now underway, cement OPG’s continued commitment to Clarington,” declared OPG Media Relations Officer Jennifer Stone. “OPG will continue to champion Clarington as a clean energy technology leader, and along with our partners in the nuclear industry, ensure the (Darlington Energy Complex) has a strong future as a world-class clean energy learning, skills training and innovation centre of excellence.”

Oshawa, naturally, was excited about OPG’s decision to take their 2,000 jobs to the Motor City.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ontario Power Generation’s new corporate headquarters to the City of Oshawa,” said Mayor Dan Carter. “OPG’s announcement continues the diversification of Oshawa’s economy and employment base, bringing further strength to our robust talent pool.”

Tito-Dante Marimpietri, Chair of the City’s Economic and Development Services Committee, was also on board, saying the move to Oshawa will both reinforce Oshawa’s position as the “clean energy capital of Canada” and have an “incredibly positive impact” on the local economy. “Corporate announcements like these further demonstrate that Oshawa is becoming Toronto’s most dynamic neighbour.”

OPG also responded to a question about Friends of Second Marsh, who are hoping to create a wetlands interpretive centre on the grounds and potentially lease space in the soon-to-be OPG headquarters building for the project.

“We are looking forward to working with all partners, including the Friends of the Second Marsh, as we move through this process and into OPG’s new headquarters. Nurturing biodiversity and preserving habitat has long been part of how OPG operates,” Stone said.

The McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Preserve, which sits adjacent to Second Marsh and on the south side of the building, is being transferred to City of Oshawa ownership as the sale of the property is being completed and Friends of Second Marsh has made it clear they want to be lead partner on the stewardship of the wetlands, a prime habitat for numerous bird and animal species.

Oshawa staff, however, have recommended that the Central Lakes Conservation Authority (CLOCA) be given that role – despite recent provincial legislative changes that will seriously impact the funding models of all conservation authorities – and plan to initiate discussions with CLOCA to “determine interest and feasibility” of taking over lead partner duties on all of Oshawa’s natural areas, including Second Marsh.

 

indurham's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising