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Report studies region’s shovel-ready lands

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

About one-fifth of vacant, serviced lands within Durham Region are considered ready for sale within the next five years, with the majority located in Oshawa.

This figure stems from a study, undertaken by the region’s economic development department, intended to summarize the amount of “market ready” employment lands available regionwide.

Kathy Weiss, director of economic development and tourism, says Durham’s cache of vacant, serviced lands stands at approximately 1,800 acres.

Of that, 370 acres are considered “market/shovel ready” and suitable for sale within five years.

Otherwise, 120 acres is considered sellable beyond five years.

The majority, 1,300 acres, is not suitable for sale at this time, with no indication of when that may occur.

Specifically, Oshawa has 339 acres of vacant, serviced land, 64 of which are considered sellable within five years, and 121 sellable beyond five years.

In fact, according to the study, Oshawa has approximately 40 per cent of “market ready” employment lands in the five lakeshore municipalities in Durham.

The majority of these properties are located in the city’s south end.

Weiss explained there are numerous reasons why lands may not be ready for sale, including an unwillingness to engage the market by the owner.

She also cautioned while some lands may be “serviced” with regional water and sanitary sewer systems, there are many other factors to consider when gauging the “market readiness” of a property.

These include storm sewers, storm water management facilities, electrical, natural gas and telecommunications services.

When Ajax Councillor Shaun Collier voiced concerns the region’s cache of land was quite limited, Weiss said servicing to the West Whitby and Seaton area in Pickering will significantly increase the amount.

When asked about lands along Highways 407, 412, and 418, Weiss said they have yet to be released, and were not considered within the study.

Moving forward, regional staff will continue to monitor the availability of serviced lands and work with owners to bring them to the market.