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Council dropped the ball on Genosha

Dear Editor,

It is incomprehensible that Oshawa’s elected officials failed to ask key questions at the April 4th committee meeting, when the matter of the redevelopment of the Genosha Hotel property was once again on the agenda.

Mr. Senechal, the owner of the property, made his delegation affirming in person the details he set out in his March 24th email to the city, that regrettably a transfer of ownership to Mr. Christie’s company Bowood no longer seemed possible (corroborated by Mr. Christie in his delegation which followed) and asked the city to assign the development credits previously agreed upon to a new company, 70 King Oshawa Inc.

The fact that council members asked no questions about the new company, its plans and timeline when Mr. Senechal had clearly stated at the start of his delegation that the three principle partners in the new company, as well as his lawyer, were in the room with him, underscores how remiss council members were at the committee meeting.

Councillor Chapman made only two quick “are you aware” questions to get his point across that, 1) any change to the current deal for redevelopment credits that Bowood received from the region would require a new application to the region and 2) that the City of Oshawa’s deal for incentives was with Bowood and under the terms of that deal an assignment of the credits required Bowood to be the owner.

These may have amounted to a good opening, but why did Chapman then jump ahead with a motion rejecting Senechal and Christie’s delegation request and no other council member saw fit to delve further and try to find some solution to ensure that work on the redevelopment project is not further delayed. Surely, this was the opportunity to ask the very kind of questions Councillor Chapman was quoted in the paper two days later as saying the city needed to find out, that: “we have no idea what their plan for the place is. Are they going to do exactly the same what Bowood was doing, or are they going to change their plan?”

Councillor Pidwerbecki, the only other council member to speak to the delegations, seemed more interested in rebuking Mr. Christie instead of pursuing a solution. Since all the property stakeholders were right there in the room and clearly wanting to have the conversation, not asking amounts to the city “dropping the ball” on a long standing city problem.

Next time council members are provided such an opportunity to find out more details and information pertaining to a complicated and important matter and arrive at a solution, Oshawa residents expect them to work more diligently and invest the time and resolve to do so.

Rosemary McConkey