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Working together is more important than ever

It’s time for the City of Oshawa and the Oshawa Port Authority to start changing the tide of bad news coming out of Oshawa’s port lands, and it’s time they start doing it together.

With the recent news of financial troubles from the lingering settlement regarding the ethanol plant, it only highlights the continued lack of communication that has been ongoing between the city and port for decades.

The port is currently hunting for a solution to their financial woes and considering a multitude of options for how they can find the funds to deal with it, and it seems that council has been left in the dark just as much as the citizens of Oshawa.

Councillor Nester Pidwerbecki, a longtime advocate for the waterfront, has said himself that he would have deep concerns if the port considered a new industrial tenant that could threaten the environmental stability of the Second Marsh or impact the residents of those living in the port. The simple fact that Pidwerbecki has these concerns and questions points out that there hasn’t been too many conversations between the port and the city regarding just what may be coming down the line.

However, it is becoming more evident that now is the time for the two to start really working together.

Recently, a letter from the port authority stated the federal entity is looking to activate a portion of an old agreement between the city and the Oshawa Harbour Commission to extend Harbour Road, suggesting the harbour is seeking to expand its operation.

Also, sources have said that a pair of applications have already been received for the management and development of the Oshawa Marina and surrounding lands. These are two of the four companies expected to respond to the city’s request for proposals.

And finally, a closed agenda item at a recent committee meeting suggested that an interested buyer has come forward to purchase lands at Simcoe Street South and Harbour Road.

These recent developments are only the beginning of what will be (hopefully) a series of developments that will see some exciting growth at Oshawa’s waterfront.

However, without the city of Oshawa and the port authority working together, the road forward is going to be littered with pitfalls and potholes and while city and port officials will have to suffer the news coverage, it’s the residents of this city that lose out on harbour lands that continue to be under-utilized.

After the ethanol plant deal was terminated in 2016, the tone from both the port and city was of turning over a new leaf.

However, with the recent news and comments, it seems not much has changed. Hopefully, the two organizations can realize that, and change their ways, before history repeats itself.