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City working to determine future of airport’s south field

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

The question has been lingering for nearly 30 years, and now Oshawa is going to search for the answer.

The south field of the Oshawa Executive Airport has been a question mark in the city’s planning department for some time. In 1987, it was first noted that it could be used for recreational purposes and sports fields.

Today, the Ontario Regimental Museum and a soccer field call the space home, along with the 420 Wing Club, Gemini Gymnastics and a community garden.

However, a concrete plan for the valuable 22.3-hectare site has never been finalized. Now, the city is looking to change that.

In a recently released report, staff in the city’s planning department are moving forward with the development of a study for the South Field Master Plan.

“It’s been a long time,” says Mayor John Henry. “This is just the next step, so I’m excited about the future of the south field and today is just another step in that journey.”

In 2008, when council approved the 2008-2012 Airport Business Plan, it was noted that the south field was no longer required for the airport’s purposes. However, it was not until the approval of the 2015-2019 Airport Business Plan in June 2015 that the development of the south field became a key priority.

The study will be a massive undertaking as staff will be considering almost every aspect that could play a role in the future of the site’s development, including: policies, land use and zoning, heritage context, servicing and transportation. The development of a draft land use plan and recommendations will also be part of the final report slated for completion in 2017.

The report is slim on any potential uses for the land. However, council has recently put a motion to staff to work with the Town of Whitby in moving a former Camp X building to the site.

As part of the process, city staff will also be putting together an advisory committee made up of staff members from a vast array of city departments to help inform the process.

Public consultations will also be part of the process, but no dates have been set for those at this time.

The final report also does not mention any details regarding the financial impacts of the study aside from the required newspaper advertisements and cost of hosting any public open houses. However, it’s clear from the report the study will take considerable staff time.