By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The city is taking its first steps in making good on its federal requirements with the harbour lands.
Oshawa has put out a request for expressions of interest (RFEOI), looking for anyone who would want to build a marina and boat launch at the city’s waterfront.
Councillor Nester Pidwerbecki says this is an important first step in getting the ball rolling.
Delays in completing the environmental assessment and record of site condition of the harbour lands – which is required under the city’s agreement with the federal government – has resulted in the city being forced to ask for an extension on the amount of time it has to convert the lands to a public marina and green space. Originally, the city had until the end of 2016 to complete the work, but are now requesting almost two years more, bringing the deadline to October 2018.
“I think we’ll get the extension. I hope that we can get this other (marina) part connected with it as quickly as possible and move into the new year looking for some proposals and give us some ideas of what we need and what is expected,” Pidwerbecki says.
According to the city’s motion, staff have been directed to acquire a consultant that will assist in determining the terms of reference for the expression of interest document when it is publicized.
The terms of reference will explain to potential developers what exactly the city is looking for in terms of a marina. In order to do that, the city needs find a consultant who can help them talk the talk.
“We’re not marina experts, we don’t know the language that would need to be put into an RFEOI. We’re going to be looking to the consultant to assist us in that respect,” says Paul Ralph, the city’s commissioner of development services.
The process is all part of the city’s purchasing bylaw process and once the terms of reference are prepared and publicized, it will need to wait and see how many potential developers come forward to take the next steps.
“The hope is that we get some interest and then you can start the next phase to talk about the demand studies that may be needed and partnering with them as well,” Ralph says.
Until October 2002, there was a public marina and boat launch at the harbour. However, in May 2002, the Oshawa Harbour Commission (the Port Authority’s predecessor) announced the Oshawa Marina and Yacht Club would be closed, citing environmental and financial reasons. All users were asked to vacate the space.