By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
Durham’s regional council is still looking to GO further east.
With plans for an expansion to the Lakeshore East line out to Bowmanville currently on hold as Metrolinx reviews at its options, the region’s committee of the whole was presented with an update by staff at their most recent meeting.
An extension to Bowmanville would reportedly create thousands of jobs for Oshawa and Durham Region, so Pickering councillor David Pickles asked whether or not the region is being forceful or clear enough in their attempt to bring the extension to Durham.
“We have expressed our concerns to both the minister [of Transportation] and Metrolinx,” responded regional chair John Henry.
Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter pointed out the extension would have an impact on the Durham community for 75 years.
Originally announced in 2017 by the then-Liberal provincial government, construction was estimated to begin in 2019.
The plan included two stations in Oshawa, one near Thornton Road and Champlain Drive, and the other on Howard Street at the former Ontario Malleable Iron Company building.
There were also stations planned for Courtice and Bowmanville.
However, in May, Metrolinx announced it was looking at four different options, including the original one, due to higher than anticipated costs tied to the expansion.
Henry previously expressed concern to The Oshawa Express, stating local patience is wearing thin.
After finding out the initial timeline had changed, Henry was quick to express his disappointment.
He noted he and all of the mayors of Durham were expecting to see the train in Clarington by 2024.
“There is also a public perception when the Premier of the province makes a commitment, whether it’s this Premier or the previous Premier, that things are going to happen,” Henry said. “The real question that I pose is – is that commitment going to be honoured…that the train will be there in 2024 because residents of our communities have made investments in their lives knowing the train is coming.”
Staff has recommended the region retain N. Barry Lyon Consultants Limited to assess economic development opportunities tied to the project, as well as the potential for private sector investment for the areas around potential GO stations.