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Future plans of GO station halt development

The city has rejected an application put forward by a developer wishing to construct industrial and commercial lots west of Thornton Road South, top, as part of that land has already been claimed by the province for a new GO Transit station, bottom.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

A developer has been stopped short of its plans for city land because the province has already spoken for part of it.

First received by the development services committee, an application put forward from Halloway Developments for a pair of industrial blocks and two commercial blocks west of Thornton Road South and along the future extension of Consumers Drive was turned down after a report explained that the land is slated to be the future site of the Thornton Corners GO station.

“The northern portion of the subject site, north of the future Consumer’s Drive extension, has been identified by Metrolinx as a future GO station site through the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Oshawa-to-Bowmanville service expansion and East Region Rail Maintenance Facility that was completed in 2011,” the city report reads.

For the better part of a decade, the GO east extension was a faraway dream after the province first announced the plan in 2008 as part of its Big Move initiative. However, it wasn’t until June 2016 that any monetary commitment was made toward making the project a reality. The project is set to see four new stations constructed, with two in Oshawa – one on Thornton Road and the other at Ritson. There will also be a new station at Courtice Road in Courtice and Martin Road in Bowmanville. Operation on the line is expected to begin in 2024.

Comments from consultants, the city and the region noted that more information was needed from the province before any such development could be approved, with the city report labelling the project as “premature.”

Metrolinx noted as much in a statement to the city, saying this site is “critical to protect for the subject rail expansion.”

“The opportunity could be lost or further complicated if the development were to occur in the subject lands,” Metrolinx states.

According to Paul Ralph, the city’s commissioner of development services, he wasn’t provided with an explanation as to why the proposal came forward for such a project, especially when there are clear reasons for turning it down.

“It doesn’t conform with the intent of our official plan and the province’s environmental assessment for the GO train extension to Bowmanville,” he says.

“This is a major site for the future Thornton Corners GO station and so the subdivision, creating new industrial lots and industrial local roads is inconsistent with that policy direction.”

Halloway declined the chance to comment for this story.