By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
In his first official address of the state of Oshawa, Mayor Dan Carter hoped to spread create a positive message through the ‘doom and gloom.’
During the annual Mayor’s Luncheon hosted by the Greater Chamber of Commerce, Carter touched on points ranging from the impending closure of the General Motors plant to the potential Lakeshore East GO Train expansion into Bowmanville.
Carter noted the transit expansion would not only bring in more than $1 billion in revenue for the city, but would also create thousands of jobs.
He also spoke of how he believes Oshawa can not only recover from recent negative experiences, but also thrive.
While speaking to city and regional councillors, city workers, business owners and community leaders, Carter said, “We want to make sure that [Oshawa] is the best place to do business in all of Durham Region. The only way that we can do that is to dedicate ourselves to a customer service model.”
Carter went on to say the philosophy of the city is to train, recruit, serve, and “do our very best to be able to be the best at customer service, because that’s the business we find ourselves in today.”
The first-term mayor was hit with a bombshell only a few days before starting the job as GM announced it would be closing it’s Oshawa plant at the end of 2019.
Carter said, “The thing I think about first thing in the morning, and the thing I think about throughout the day, and as I lay my head down, is about the families that have been impacted by this decision [to close the plant].”
When Carter found out about the impending closure, his reaction was one of disbelief.
“At that particular time I said, ‘Nah, it’s just rumours like it usually is,’” said Carter. “But the source was a really good source, and it made me just turn white as soon as it happened.”
He said he understands the challenge Oshawa is facing, but he believes it can overcome it as a community,
Carter assured those in attendance he will continue to urge GM to reconsider its decision to leave Oshawa.
He also emphasized Oshawa is prepared for the next 30 years, focusing on what he believes is the city’s solid economic foundation and diversified economy.
The city is quickly becoming a leader in industries such as healthcare, education, technology, energy, transportation, agriculture, and aviation, Carter asserted.
Carter also spoke of the city’s budget, which was approved earlier this month, and includes an investment of $26.5 million in infrastructure in 2019.
The mayor said the city will be increasing its reserves, while at the same time paying down debt.
The city will also be investing in social needs, such as the Oshawa Unsheltered Task Force, for which the city has allocated $200,000, according to Carter.
He also noted the city is home to more than $5 billion in completed, ongoing and proposed development projects across the city.
Some of these projects include the revitalization of the Genosha Hotel, and RioCan’s development of the Windfield’s Main Central Area at Simcoe Street North and Winchester Road.
Other notable endeavors include a 25-storey apartment building going up at 2535 Thoroughbred Street, Trent University’s upcoming expansion to its Oshawa campus, and a proposed development of two industrial buildings on Thornton Road South and Wentworth Street West.
But most of all, Carter emphasized what he believes to be a bright and positive future for the City of Oshawa.
“This moment calls for all of us to work together and imagine our city not only for this year, but for the next 30 years. Let us not waste this moment – embrace the opportunity to re-imagine Oshawa,” said Carter.