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Harbour lands report back in provincial hands

Development of the city's harbour lands is currently awaiting approval from the province on a report submitted in February. The province has said development cannot begin until it has given the green light on an updated environmental report.

Development of the city’s harbour lands is currently awaiting approval from the province on a report submitted in February. The province has said development cannot begin until it has given the green light on an updated environmental report.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

The next step towards developing the city’s harbour lands into parkland is now in the province’s hands.

The city’s most updated environmental report, which details the environmental condition of the lakefront property, was submitted to the province in February. Three months later, the city is awaiting further word from the province.

According to Gary Wheeler, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the city’s report was part of a risk assessment of the property, which is part of the process in obtaining a record of site condition (RSC). These processes must be completed before any development can take place on the property.

The report is currently under review, Wheeler says, adding a response is expected to be given to the city this summer.

If accepted, the province will issue the city a certificate of property use (CPU)

“A CPU requires the town to take risk management actions or refrain from doing certain things at the property,” Wheeler says.

According to Paul Ralph, the city’s commissioner of development services, the work is “progressing well” as the city continues to wait on the province’s feedback.

The most recent report, prepared by consultant XCG, is only the latest in a series of back and forths the city has had with the province in redeveloping the brownfield site.

This past July, the city presented its first draft of the risk assessment. In November, that report was sent back to the city with “significant comments,” according to a city report at the time.

Those comments led to a council decision to approve an additional $160,000 of work for XCG to address the ministry’s concerns. These additional funds were on top of the $438,000 already budgeted for the consultant to complete the RSC.

Pending any approvals from the province, the steps to develop future parkland are far from fruition. Prior to any work being done or plans being made, the city must consult with the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA), as the lands are close to a significant wetland.

Following an extension from the federal government, the city now has until the fall of 2018 to develop the land into a park system.