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The first step for residential development at the waterfront

harbour_lands

Mayor John Henry has called on staff to start the process of creating a community improvement plan for the city’s waterfront. Henry says a program would help future residential and business developments in the area.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

The City of Oshawa is making its intentions clear at the waterfront, and Mayor John Henry is taking the first step to make that happen.

At the most recent meeting of the development services committee, Henry suggested staff initiate the process of starting a community improvement plan for the lands north of Harbour Road, the second largest chunk of acreage inside the city’s harbour lands.

The idea was unanimously supported by the committee.

“Our vision is high-density residential,” Henry says.

“You can imagine having a large number of residential units down there on our waterfront. It would change the footprint.”

Following the approval of his motion at the next meeting of city council, city staff will begin analyzing the options and opportunities that would be available for a community improvement plan (CIP) in that area.

Currently, the city has four existing CIPs which provide development grants and incentives for developers to build on formerly developed lands along the Simcoe Street South corridor, in the university and college area, along with the downtown core and surrounding area.

Henry says the report staff will prepare in response to his suggestion “is the start.”

“We’re not looking at just creating housing or rental units,” he says. “We’re looking at the big picture.”

Along with any potential boundaries, incentives or future programs for development in the area north of Harbour Road, staff will be looking for any available assistance from other levels of government.

“(Staff will) look at other levels of government where there may be potentially money to help us move this along,” Henry says.

However, the idea is not without its challenges as the land, once used for a city dump, will have issues of potential contamination to deal with before any future development could take place.

“It’s about being proactive,” the mayor says. “It’s about looking at it in a different light.”