Regional Chair calls on province to approve GO Transit extension as Clarington waits for a ride

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Published January 19, 2022 at 3:07 pm

Durham Regional Chair John Henry is calling on Queen’s Park to approve the long-in-the-works GO Transit expansion to Bowmanville, citing the move as “critical to Durham’s recovery from the pandemic.”

The Bowmanville GO expansion has been in the works since 2008, when the Dalton McGuinty government announce the project as part of it’s Big Move initiative. The project has languished in some form of development hell ever since.

Then-Environment Minister John Wilkinson eventually approved a motion to proceed with the project in 2011, but a financial commitment wouldn’t be made until 2016, in the later years of Kathleen Wynne’s premiership.

The Metrolinx Board finally approved a route in February 2020, with expected operation of the line expected by 2024. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and process changes along the prospective route have hampered progress.

The proposed route will add two new stations to Oshawa, one at Thornton Corners and another at Ritson Road. The Ritson expansion has been seen as a significant boon to Oshawa’s Knob Hill Farms area, a neighbourhood that has fallen into disrepair over the years, but serves as the Eastern gateway to the city.

Clarington, which has long fought for the route citing a potential $1.1 billion in investment should it proceed, is also set for two stations in Courtice and Bowmanville.

Metrolinx was able to begin geotechnical work in September 2021, involving drilling boreholes and testing environment samples, expected to take about a year.

Henry chimed in with a statement on January 19, pushing Ontario to accelerate the development process with approvals in the upcoming 2022 budget, citing it as a necessary step for the Region to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will focus on what matters most—creating jobs, stimulating the economy, connecting people to work and education opportunities and building complete, liveable, walkable communities,” Henry said, adding the new GO stations will be “a catalyst for growth and economic development.”

Public consultations for the 2022 budget are currently underway with a survey open on Ontario.ca to gauge Ontarians’ priorities.

 

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