By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Oshawa’s federal representative has raised concerns regarding intentions to merge the city’s port authority with Hamilton’s.
In a letter addressed to Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, Oshawa MP Colin Carrie said stakeholders in the city have yet to receive “any formal outreach or briefings, including the supporting business case, documentation or an opportunity for discussion concerning the government’s rationale or potential model for the new entity’s governance.”
Carrie wrote the intention to amalgamate came as a surprise to the port authority and its users, city and regional officials, and local businesses.
He also requested the public consultation period be extended by at least 90 days to end on or near May 31, “in order to provide a more reasonable timeframe for a fulsome discussion of the potential benefits or challenges associated with the proposal.”
While Carrie notes there “may be a business case to support a merger of the OPA and the HPA,” there has been no evidence of that so far from the federal government.
“Oshawa’s local stakeholders have not been provided with any relevant cost-benefit analysis, or regulatory, economic or governance impact assessments. Nor is there any local understanding of the criteria used by officials to support their recommendation…,” Carrie wrote in the letter.
In writing to Garneau, Carrie cited a 2017 study, Economic Impacts of the Port of Oshawa, written by U.S.-based consultant Martin Associates for a coalition of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway based-business stakeholders.
The Conservative MP said this study revealed in 2017, the Port of Oshawa contributed:
– $35.1 million in direct business revenue for firms dependent on cargo handled at the harbour
– 398 jobs across Ontario, with 150 of those directly generated by marine cargo and vessel activity at marine terminals. In all, these 150 individuals earned $7.6 million in wages and salaries and created an economic spin-off of an additional 202 jobs throughout the regional economy.
Carrie worries an amalgamated entity has the potential for “less Oshawa-based representation,” which would negate efforts by the city to enhance its portion of the west wharf harbour lands it regained control of in 2014.
“The previous government, in partnership with the City and Oshawa’s taxpayers, invested millions of dollars into the remediation and repurposing of the returned City lands,” Carrie states.
Meeting soon with Garneau is an expectation of Carrie.
“I look forward to working with your officials, our Port, its users, and my colleagues at all levels of government in Oshawa and Durham to ensure that all perspectives on amalgamation are fully considered before the department completes its deliberations – and well before you proceed with the publication of a Certificate of Amalgamation,” he wrote.