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Waterfront developments scaled back

Following severe backlash to initial proposals, Graywood returns with scaled back versions of original plans

Block A – NEW

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Ring the bell, it’s time for the second round.

A pair of contentious south end developments, one directly on the shore of Lake Ontario, have been scaled back following months of public dissent.

Hundreds of Oshawa residents came out against the proposals, with over 1,200 people signing a petition against the shoreline residential project.

Block A – OLD

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.

Both proposals, first brought to city council in January, have now received update submissions from Graywood, the project’s developer, taking into consideration comments from the public, city staff and other stakeholders.

Block B – NEW

For Block A, while the number of townhouse units remains the same at 56, one of the residents main concerns has been addressed with the removal of entrance into the housing development from Park Road, which many feared would cause traffic issues coming in and out of the development.

However, the much more contentious issue with Block A was the receipt of a letter from General Motors noting that the proximity of the development impeded their ability to expand on the southern portion of their site. The project sits directly across Philip Murray from the automakers Oshawa Assembly plant.

The updated documents note that following several meetings with GM, the developer and automaker “successfully identified alternative solutions to address GM’s concerns.”

Block B – OLD

“We are currently in the process of finalizing and implementing the appropriate strategy in consultation with GM,” the updated submission reads.

The City of Oshawa also ordered a peer review of the consultant’s Air Quality and Noise Study for Block A due to the developments proximityy to GM, the cost of which is covered by the development.

“The project consultant team is currently reviewing the results of the peer review and formalizing an appropriate response which will be provided under separate cover in the near future,” the report reads.

And while Block A received dissent from residents, it was clear from the outset that Block B, and the Lake Ontario waterfront were the main focus of their ire.

In terms of the updated proposal, Graywood has shaved 36 units from the project, dropping the total number down to 146 single detached units and 34 semis. A small park space and wetland have also been added to the western portion of the site.

Along with the proximity to the lake, the potential for erosion, and the sheer density of the development, many residents feared the environmental impact on the animals that rely on the open field space, as well as the threat to at-risk species like the monarch butterfly that use the field.

It was something that was also raised by the City of Oshawa Development Services department, previously noting that “the consultant should investigate opportunities to create new habitat within the development, including between the trail and the required single-loaded road. We also recommend that the consultant and applicant investigate opportunities to support the City and the Oshawa Environmental Advisory Committee’s efforts to implement a milkweed planting program in various parts of the City including sites near the subject lands such as Lakefront West Park and Pumphouse Marsh.”

It is something that the developer says they will be working on moving forward.

We are currently conducting additional surveys to look for suitable habitat for monarch butterfly stopover to determine the potential for a migratory stop-over site for butterflies as well as investigate any opportunities for milkweed plantings near the subject property,” the updated submission notes.