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City puts name forward for downtown post office

Building could become hub of activity for downtown, mayor says

Canada Post downtown distribution centre. (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

It’s a prime location, and for Mayor John Henry, the Canada Post distribution centre on Simcoe Street in Oshawa’s downtown, could be so much more.

For that reason, as the country’s postal distributor gets set to move from its 47 Simcoe Street South home to a new location on Ritson Road North, north of Adelaide Avenue East, the mayor wants Oshawa to be the first name on the list should the government look to sell the property.

“It’s important to let the government know that we’re absolutely interested in that property,” he tells The Oshawa Express. “There’s lot of opportunities you could do on those floors and we’ve been starting to attract a lot of people through out Spark Centre, Core 21, through the colleges and universities in town and downtown is full of young people.”

The mayor brought forward the motion at the recent meeting of the Development Services committee where it received strong support. It went before council on Feb. 20, asking for assent for the mayor to send a letter to Canada Post and the federal government for the city to get the first right of refusal should the crown agency look to sell the property.

While no word has been shared regarding the future building, the mayor’s motion notes that “Canada Post has indicated that the downtown site would become surplus to their needs and likely be put up for sale after the new distribution facility is completed.”

According to the city’s development activity report, the new facility is located at 301 Ritson Road North, a development permit worth approximately $6.8 million was issued in 2017 for the construction.

For Mayor Henry, the Canada Post building has the strong potential to become a hub of activity in Oshawa’s downtown and perhaps work to help transform the city’s core.

“If you look at some of the other cities in the GTHA that have started really transforming their downtowns it starts with a connective hub, a technology hub,” he says. “It’s the opportunity for us to look at those lands and when they become available, we want to be at the top of the list for that discussion.”

With that noted, the motion does not commit the city to purchasing the property.

A similar motion also recently came forward regarding the Gifford Hill lands near the Oshawa harbour, which the city has informed the federal government, that should they ever look to sell the lands, that Oshawa have the first opportunity to purchase them.