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Councillors want answers on GO Expansion

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Oshawa city council can be added to the list of local politicians seeking answers of the Lakeshore East GO expansion.

Council has made a formal resolution asking the province and Metrolinx to “confirm the commitment to extend GO rail service through Oshawa to Bowmanville by 2024.”

The city has also asked that all pending negotiations with CP and CN Rail be “proactively resolved” to move the project forward, and that regular updates on those negotiations are provided.

In June 2016, the expansion was announced by the then-Liberal government. Over the past year, it was stated construction would begin in 2019, with a targeted date of completion by 2024.

After the election of the current Ford government, it was stated that all major transit projects were under review.

However, Durham MPP Lindsey Park recently told The Oshawa Express the Lakeshore East expansion remains a priority.

“We are committed to delivering an all-day service expansion. We take that commitment made in our platform very seriously,” Park said.

Oshawa MPP Jennifer French has also questioned the status of the expansion. She says she has faced “non-answers” when asking about it in the Legislature.

Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson said he has heard about “six or seven announcements” in regards to the project in his time on council

“If we had as much energy in building this project as announcing it, the darn thing would be in Belleville somewhere by now,” he said. “Every government that comes in takes credit for announcing it, but never wants to build it.”

Nicholson said Oshawa and Durham Region always seem to be “on the short end of the stick when it comes to Go Transit.”

To him, Oshawa has already started to see the negatives of the project, such as increased traffic in the areas of the proposed stations.

“It is time we get the positives as well…it’s time for Mr. Ford and his government to actually be for the people for a change,” he said.

Ward 4 regional Councillor Rick Kerr said the expansion would be the impetus of setting Durham Region as an ‘economic driver’ in the province for decades to come.

Kerr added that living near a GO line can create better living, especially for those who choose to live here but work in Toronto.

“Why the delay in this, I don’t know,” he said.

Commissioner of community services Ron Diskey confirmed that about $500 million has been set aside for the project.

Ward 1 regional councillor John Neal requested the city petition French to see those funds released and actually used towards the expansion.

“Just to say we know of it does absolutely nothing,” Neal stated.