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OMB sides with the city, holds land for future GO station

The OMB has ruled against a development application as the land is slated for a future GO station. (Graphic courtesy of the City of Oshawa)

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Ink the stamp, it’s official.

Following an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board, and a hearing held on Feb. 12, a development application from Halloway Developments for a site west of Thornton Road has been denied as the location is now officially being preserved for a future GO station.

The site, located along the future extension of Consumers Drive, has been a question mark for some time now, with the province noting as early as 2008, that they would like the location for a future GO station as part of the Lakeshore East line to Bowmanville. However, since that time, very little has been set in stone, and until now, Halloway had been unable to get answers regarding the future of the land.

“Halloway has, for over two years now, sought a commitment from Metrolinx with respect to its intention to acquire the Subject Lands or portions thereof,” reads an earlier letter from Jennifer Meader, a lawyer with Weirfoulds LLP who is representing Halloway.

An OMB hearing was held at city hall on Feb. 12, and according to Paul Ralph, the city’s commissioner of development services, the final decision sided with the City of Oshawa, who had denied Halloway’s application due to the future possibility of the transit hub.

“It really reflected what council originally approved for that area,” Ralph says of the final result. “It really went the way we all wanted it from a city perspective, which was to protect that area for the future GO station.”

The same sentiment was shared by Metrolinx.

“Metrolinx is pleased with the outcome of the OMB case in question as this will enable us to move forward with our planned GO expansion in Durham Region,” states Scott Money, a spokesperson for Metrolinx. “With this in mind, we continue to make progress on advancing the infrastructure and service planning that will bring new GO rail service to a 20-kilometre extension of the Lakeshore East GO line by 2024.”

The history of the land is a bumpy one.

It has been rumoured to be the location for a new GO station for some time, dating back to the province’s Big Move initiative launched in 2008, a big part of which included extending the GO Lakeshore East line to Bowmanville.

However, it wasn’t until June 2016 that any monetary commitment was made toward making the project a reality. The project is now 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.