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New plan creates grants for waterfront developers

Public meeting to be held on proposed plan

The boundaries of a new plan, currently set to receive public feedback, would provide grants to developers looking to develop within this area generally north of Harbour Road and east of Simcoe Street South. Council hopes the new plan will attract development to the area.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

A new plan will provide incentive grants for developers looking to build near Oshawa’s waterfront.

The Harbour Road Community Improvement Plan (CIP) looks to encourage residential and commercial development in the area generally north of Harbour Road, between Simcoe Street South and Montgomery Creek, and south of Wellington Avenue East. Current zoning would allow for a range of low-, medium- and high-density residential use – something that has been suggested for some time, with a 2006 study concluding a “residential focus” is the preferred use for the area.

The proposed CIP, which will soon be the subject of a planning act meeting to gather public feedback, would include a single incentive program, that being an increased assessment grant. This type of program, similar to what is offered for the city’s Downtown Urban Growth Centre CIP and for the Simcoe Street North Corridor, allows the city to waive some or all of a building’s property taxes for a given year.

Along with the CIPs for downtown and Simcoe Street North, the city also has similar programs for Simcoe Street South and for the area around Durham College and UOIT.

The idea for such a plan along Harbour Road stems from a motion made by Mayor John Henry in September 2016 to start the process toward creating such a plan.

Councillors were unanimous in their support of the proposed plan, which according to Paul Ralph, the city’s commissioner of development services, will go to a public meeting in the coming months.

For Councillor Dan Carter, the plan is a step toward creating more jobs in the area and perhaps stimulating the city’s economy in the south.

“I think that any way that we can invest in that particular area…I think will play a significant role in the impact that will happen,” he says. “Anything that helps us stimulate the economy, get jobs in that area, will be helpful.”

The same was said by Councillor Nester Pidwerbecki, who again repeated his call for the city to get in contact with the Port Authority for the two entities to get on the same page.

“The sooner we can sit down with the Port Aurhority, I think it will help to implement everything much faster,” he says.

Council have also decided to take the idea a step further.

Following a suggestion from Councillor Amy McQuaid-England, staff will now be carrying out a similar process, but this time to look into the merits of a CIP for the Wentworth Street East corridor.

“There’s a lot of business along the Wentworth corridor that could really use some rejuvenation and investment,” McQuaid-England says. “We have the region looking at some of the social issues and I think it’s important that we look at the business side of the equation.”

That motion carried unanimously.