Larry Ladd has fallen for some Port of Oshawa political sleight of hand. The problem at the Port of Oshawa is not any particular development. Nor will it be resolved by a change of personalities. The problem at the Port of Oshawa is governance as a Canada Port Authority.
In 2008 the late Jim Flaherty, in effect, during an election, promised divestment of the former Oshawa Harbour Commission to a municipal governance body as per the recommendations of the Crombie Report. In 2009 with the election behind them, the new government dropped a bomb on the city in a letter to Mayor John Gray announcing that the port would become a Canada Port Authority under the Marine Act. This created the situation where a questionable port was forced to cast about for any means possible to generate revenue. Further, the former land use restrictions and zoning were rendered null and void. That made a questionable development like FarmTech not just a possibility, but a compulsion. The solution to the problem is devolution to more responsible governance model and local control of land use. This was done with other small regional ports and it works. Port Stanley and the Port of Prescott aren’t exactly disaster areas. Their ports haven’t disappeared.
Now it seems, the Port of Oshawa fanboys and fangirls are now busy trying to create the impression that there is no tomorrow if the Oshawa Port Authority is divested. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even if no one figures out to how to finance the onerous dredging at the port, the traffic could be routed through the port at St. Mary’s Cement. It’s a far more practical location and the last time anyone asked, they wanted the business. Whatever is done about the colossal failure of the port, the decision on its future should made only after a public process. The cronies at the port have been hiding behind federal statute for long enough.