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Stop the Sprawl petition reaches over 1,200 names

Petition garners no response from councillors at meeting

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

The dissent continues to brew in Oshawa’s south end.

A development looking to turn a patch of Oshawa’s waterfront, adjacent to the Waterfront Trail, into a townhouse development has been dogged by citizen blowback from the start, and now a petition with more than 1,200 signatures has been dropped on the desk of every councillor at city hall.

The spearhead behind the petition is a group of residents calling themselves Stop the Sprawl, and have been circulating the petition for months.

“We, the undersigned, call on the council of the City of Oshawa to deny the rezoning…we are residents of Oshawa and would like this land to be left in its natural state and open for all to enjoy,” the petition states.

The two proposals were brought forward by Graywood Developments in January of this year, during a meeting that saw residents pack the council chambers to capacity.

The first proposal, known as Block A, is a 1.12-hectare wedge of land directly on the corner of Phillip Murray and Park Road South.  The second, to which the latest petition relates, known as Block B, is a much larger proposal for a nearly 26-acre site sitting directly on the waterfront of Lake Ontario south of Renaissance Drive west of Park Road South.

A request to discuss the developments sent to Ryan Guetter, the lead consultant on the project with Weston Consulting, was not returned as of The Oshawa Express press deadline.

Both developments have seen a rash of similar concerns from residents directly adjacent to the sites and from nearby neighbourhoods, expressing concerns for safety with traffic and intensification in an area that already sees heavy traffic during GM’s shift change (the Oshawa Assembly sits directly across the road from the Block A proposal), as well as concern for migrating birds, other wildlife and even monarch butterflies that use the area.

Along with the petition’s 1,251 signatures, Stop the Sprawl organized an extensive letter writing campaign. In total, approximately 107 letters were received in opposition to Block A, while approximately 149 came in stating opposition to Block B. Many of these letters included the names of multiple residents on a single letter and many stated their opposition to both developments. Only six letters were received that did not state outright opposition to the projects, but listed several concerns.

“This land consists of two wetlands, forest, fields and is a migratory path for many animals, bird species and monarch butterflies. The forest and open space are home to hawks, owls, rabbits, fox, coyotes, deer and numerous other species,” the Stop the Sprawl petition reads. “We are the voices for all of the animals and wildlife that call this land their home. We do not support a development of homes on this lakefront property and would like to see it remain in its natural state.”

The petition appeared on the agenda of the Development Services committee on Sept. 11 and was received by councillors with no discussion or questions.