Oshawa approves Plan20Thirty action plan to guide downtown development


Published June 27, 2022 at 4:45 pm

With the new ‘DTO’ branding campaign underway for Oshawa’s downtown, the City has now set its sights on an action plan to actively promote the area as an “unique destination” to work, live, shop and be entertained.

Plan20Thirty, a new downtown revitalization action plan that builds upon Oshawa’s previous downtown plan, Plan 20Twenty, was approved at last Monday’s Council meeting.

Plan 20Twenty, initiated in 2014, was introduced as a simple and realistic plan that was supported by a group of 41 stakeholders. The stakeholders included property and business owners, developers and representatives of the university, the former Downtown Oshawa Business Improvement Area, financial institutions and the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce. The plan was introduced as a flexible document that would guide actions needed through to 2020.

Some of the initiatives performed during Plan20Twenty included the Oshawa Loves Local Campaign; the King Street streetscape improvements; the Downtown Oshawa Property Cleanup Program; the Athol Street Cycle Track; investment in electric vehicle charging stations; and the re-development of Rotary Park, among other accomplishments.

Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and staffing challenges in Economic Development Services, Council didn’t get to everything on the Plan20Twenty wish list and the development of Plan 20Thirty to guide the period of 2021 through to 2030 was slightly delayed.

In June 2021, Oshawa City Council moved on the logical next step and approved the terms of reference for ‘Downtown Action Plan ‘Plan 20Thirty.’

Oshawa City Council appointed 13 members to the Plan 20Thirty committee from the cultural, culinary and professional Service, as well as downtown residents, downtown development industry representatives and representatives from Ontario Tech University and the social services sector.

The Plan 20Thirty Committee came together from Fall 2021 to Spring 2022 to determine a series of action items that would guide the new plan. The public provided input, with more than 165 community members sharing their feedback on the action plan over a four-week period in Spring 2022.

In total, 60 action items were identified across seven core pillars:

  • Business Growth, Expansion & Retention
  • Residential Growth
  • The Physical Environment
  • Social Experience
  • Communications
  • Modernization & Innovation
  • Customer Service & Red Tape Reduction

The key objectives of Plan 20Thirty are:

  • Acknowledging the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and developing actions to mitigate its impacts
  • Identifying the primary role(s) and current state of the downtown
  • Examining current challenges and future opportunities
  • Building consensus on strategic directions and activities
  • Informing potential revisions to downtown zoning
  • Generating short and longer term investment leads and opportunities
  • Meeting Oshawa’s job growth targets
  • Enhancing a better economic foundation for future growth
  • Enhancing, leveraging and marketing the downtown’s strengths and assets
  • Enhancing, leveraging and marketing the retail, personal service, culinary, arts, culture and entertainment sectors and
  • Strengthening partnerships with organizations such as the post-secondary institutions, the Spark Centre, Business Advisory Centre of Durham, and social agencies

Other themes that came up in public input were the need to enhance the perception of safety, security and well-being in downtown Oshawa; the density of social service establishments; visibility of unlawful behavior and the visual perceptions of the Simcoe Street corridor due to service clustering and property conditions; the need to improve the visual impact of storefronts downtown; a coordinated downtown Oshawa event strategy to ensure diversity of options for visitor attraction; and enhanced opportunities for dining, events and general ambiance in public spaces.

A renewed mural plan was also the focus of attention, with the need to budget for maintenance of historic murals as well as new public art identified.

“Plan 20Thirty reflects our commitment to downtown businesses and stakeholders and guides the further revitalization of our downtown as a destination for residents and visitors alike,” said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter. “Plan20Thirty charts a new path towards a vibrant and dynamic future for downtown Oshawa. We sincerely appreciate the contributions of our downtown stakeholders and community partners who collaborated over the past year to make this vision possible.”

The staff report, prepared by Economic Development Director Hailey Wright and Development Services Commissioner Warren Munro, also identified the need to capitalize on the diversity of businesses operating downtown in the retail and culinary sector, which they called an “incredible asset” of the area.

“An exciting opportunity exists for the City to adopt culture as an industry which can aid in job growth, positioning as a destination city, establish connections between arts and business, aid in revitalization of urban areas and create spin-off businesses. These actions should be viewed as integral pieces of downtown Oshawa.”

City staff will report on the progress of Plan 20Thirty annually through the Development Services Committee and City Council.

For more information on Plan 20Thirty, visit the Plan 20Thirty webpage.

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