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Chamber Supports Canadian Port Authority For Oshawa Harbour

The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce applauds long-awaited federal funding to clean up the Oshawa Harbour and west wharf, and is calling on the government to complete the transformation of our waterfront by making the harbour a Canadian Port Authority (CPA). 
 
Oshawa MP Dr. Colin Carrie and Whitby-Oshawa MP Jim Flaherty announced $9.2 million in funding over two years for environmental assessments and remediation of harbour marina lands and the west wharf. 
“The Oshawa waterfront has been a source of great pride and commitment for me personally,” Mr. Carrie said at the April 8 media conference. “(This) announcement illustrates our government’s commitment to the people of Oshawa in establishing a clean green, mixed use waterfront.”
 
In a letter delivered to Minister of Transport John Baird in March, the Chamber identified the environmental cleanup and future governance model of the harbour as two important priorities. 
 
“In our letter, the Chamber felt sufficient funds needed to be allocated for the environmental cleanup of the marina and caveated lands and the federal government needed to move forward immediately,” said Chamber President Dave Hare. “The $9.2-million dollars is a good start to rejuvenating Port Oshawa.” 
 
The money comes from $81 million allocated in this year’s federal budget for projects covered by the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan. Environmental assessments on the harbour lands are expected to wrap up soon, allowing the cleanup to begin. A master plan and budget still have to be worked out.
 
Last year, former Toronto mayor David Crombie – appointed by the federal government to prepare a report on the future of Oshawa’s harbour lands – recommended transferring ownership of the port and surrounding lands to the city, and developing a mixed-use environment. 
 
The Chamber believes Port Oshawa offers significant economic benefits to existing business and has the potential to attract new businesses to Durham Region. It supports industrial, recreational, commercial and residential uses. 
 
Over the past decade, the Chamber has shared that position with numerous transport ministers and Crombie. It has always supported a timely resolution to the future of Oshawa Harbour and offered to play a proactive role in finding answers to the issues.  
 
The Port is currently managed by the last remaining Harbour Commission in Canada, but there has been talk about making it a CPA since 1999. “In our letter to Minister Baird, the Chamber addressed the governance model calling for the federal government to take a leadership role in the governance model and put 10 years of debate and political posturing to bed so we can all get on with business,” said Chamber CEO Bob Malcolmson.
 
A CPA is a federally-incorporated agency that could be comprised of directors appointed by the federal and provincial governments, the City of Oshawa and port users with the goal of creating and supporting economic development in the area. 
 
The Hamilton Port Authority is an example of a CPA supported by the Chamber. It handles more than 12 million tons of cargo and is visited by over 700 vessels each year, making it the busiest of all Canadian Great Lakes ports.