A new vision for the future of the Port of Oshawa is in the works, and Oshawa residents can have a say on what the port will look like.
The Oshawa Port Authority amalgamated with the Hamilton Port Authority approximately one year ago, becoming the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA). Larissa Fenn, director of public affairs for HOPA, says a lot has happened since then.
“Our team has been working hard to investigate the condition of the infrastructure and identify needs and opportunities to improve the way the port functions, and its service and efficiency for users,” Fenn says.
Since the amalgamation, the Oshawa port also saw a new grain terminal open towards the end of the last season, which Fenn says will be great for Oshawa and Durham Region.
“They didn’t get a full season in but they did get one vessel loaded for export of primarily Durham Region grown grain, and it was a really good indication that it’s going to be a very successful facility going forward,” she says, adding it’s meeting a lot of the needs of Durham’s farmers to get their crops to market without having to put it on a truck for travel to either eastern Ontario or across the GTA to Hamilton.
“That terminal opening is a really big step forward for the port and for users in the agricultural community.”
Outreach by HOPA within the agricultural and farming community in Durham Region shows about 70 per cent of farmers say their production of grain will increase over the next five to 10 years and a way to export these crops to market is needed.
“There’s clearly, coming soon, a big demand for export terminal capacity, so we need to anticipate that as we develop the port,” says Fenn.
She says HOPA has also been in close contact with its stakeholders, the City of Oshawa and the region, to start aligning the port’s work with that of its host municipalities on attracting business to the city and making sure the port is seen as a contributing asset to the business and economic development work that the city and region are both driving forward.
HOPA is now moving forward with the first steps in the land use development plan process for the Oshawa port.
“We’ve been doing our own homework, but it’s time to reach out to all of our stakeholders, including the public, to see what the needs and aspirations are for the port,” says Fenn. “This plan will set a vision for the future of the port lands, and we want to create a plan that seeks to maximize the efficiency and economic impact that the port can have.”
In developing the future vision, considerations will be given to the port’s role as an economic driver in Oshawa and the GTHA, the current and future infrastructure needs of the port, the market demands for multimodal transportation services in the GTHA, the environmental and social aspects of the port lands and waterfront, and the community and stakeholder ideas for the port and waterfront.
“The Port of Oshawa is an important component of the national transportation infrastructure,” says Fenn. “It’s a small port, relatively speaking among Canadian ports, but it’s in such a strategic location as a gateway to the Greater Toronto Area,” she adds, noting the population of the GTA is expected to surpass eight million within the next 10 years.
As the Greater Toronto Area grows, the Port of Oshawa will be ever more important in moving the goods the region needs to thrive. A new land use plan will help ensure the port is positioned to make a positive contribution to community prosperity now, and well into the future.”
Fenn says the first step in the Land Use Development Plan process is the community survey, which will be open for public input through July, with further opportunities to engage in the process as the plan moves forward.
The Land Use Plan is expected to be completed this fall.
Visit www.hopaports.ca for more information, to fill out the survey, and to join the port’s land use plan mailing list for future updates.