Oshawa, HOPA reach historic deal on future of city’s harbour lands

By

Published October 14, 2022 at 9:09 am

There may not be a provision for a marina in the deal but after 40 years of childish bickering the City and the Port of Oshawa finally have an agreement.

Signifying a “renewed commitment” to strengthen their working relationship, the City and the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA) have signed off on a series of agreements regarding the future of the harbour lands, all resulting from a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties earlier this year.

Those agreements include a land exchange to accommodate a new Oshawa Waterfront Trail link and a new entrance to HOPA’s east wharf lands to support the port’s $30 million expansion;  a communications and co-operation strategy to enhance the working relationship between the City, HOPA and public stakeholders; a promise that Oshawa residents will secure long-term public access to the beach and the federal government-owned pier for recreation; and improvements to the streetscape along Simcoe Street South that will reduce heavy truck traffic near the Lakeview Park beach area, increase harbour security and provide enhanced screening of the industrial port operations from the City’s waterfront parks and open spaces.

The City and Port have also agreed to secure a 120-metre buffer zone around the Second Marsh by adding a 60-metre zone as part of a 60 year lease to the City of a portion of Gifford Hill and have reached an agreement on allowed use adjacent to the Second Marsh and the new expanded buffer zone.

More items will be released in the coming months as final legal agreements are concluded with the Port and the Federal Government.

The deal, said Port of Oshawa Working Group Chair and Regional Councillor Brian Nicholson, coupled with the transfer to the City of the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve, will allow for harbour development, guarantee recreational use for residents and protect Second Marsh for “generations to come.”

“After 40 years of conflict, this is an exciting new future for our Port and adjacent waterfront,” Nicholson said, adding that the deal is “one of most gratifying achievements of this past term of office.”

“We’ve finally developed an achievable plan for the future of the Port of Oshawa and the surrounding lands at Second Marsh, Gifford Hill, the Montgomery’s Creek watershed and our waterfront parks. (This) agreement will create new jobs at the Port, improve surrounding infrastructure, protect neighbouring environmental lands and parkland and improve the overall image of the south Simcoe Street corridor.”

Considering the at times acrimonious relationship between Oshawa Council and HOPA’s predecessor, the Oshawa Harbour Commission – the city took the feds to court in 2006 to reclaim 66 acres of prime waterfront they had transferred to the Crown in 1966 (they eventually got 48 acres back), Nicholson knew it was going to be a “daunting task” to reach an agreement when he signed on to the committee.

“The Port and the City had been at loggerheads for over 40 years. Both sides clearly recognized that this could not continue.”

Now? A shared vision for the future and HOPA President and CEO Ian Hamilton couldn’t be happier. “We’re proud to work in collaboration with the City of Oshawa. HOPA’s $30 million investment in the port is a testament to our commitment to the City and the region. This agreement builds on our mission to create prosperity by facilitating commerce while providing sustainable solutions that benefit our communities.”

The Port of Oshawa is Durham Region’s gateway to the world, handling more than 500 vessels carrying more than half a million metric tons of cargo a year (Hamilton, by comparison, is far bigger, handling more than twenty times that much), valued at some $23 million annually. The movement of cargo through Oshawa’s harbour, from salt and steel to asphalt and grain, supports hundreds of jobs and generates $6 million in federal and provincial taxes annually.

Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter said the agreement is about entering the “next chapter” with HOPA. “The land exchange, streetscape improvements along Simcoe Street South and long-term public access to the Pier and beach will help balance recreational and commercial uses along Oshawa’s lakeshore and is the next big step in developing our shared vision of an active and vibrant waterfront for our community.”

As part of the agreement, the City of Oshawa will continue to develop and improve the harbour lands for public use in support of an “active, vibrant waterfront.”

Those improvements include the Larry Ladd Harbour Trail on the City’s lands east of Simcoe Street South and south of Harbour Road, which comprises a pedestrian bridge and walkway and is a link to the Waterfront Trail, Second Marsh, Oshawa Museum and Lakeview Park as well as the Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park – named in recognition of political icon Ed Broadbent – which will feature a Garden of Human Rights, a network of concrete and asphalt pathways and a stage with amphitheater seating.

Oshawa is one of the few cities along the north shore of Lake Ontario that can boast an airport, rail lines, a deep-sea port with access to world markets through the St. Lawrence Seaway and 400-series highways all within close proximity.

Now, about that marina.

 

indurham's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising