The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce welcomes the news of Oshawa City council approving the deal negotiated by City Staff and Transport Canada officials in respect to the Oshawa Harbour. This current news along with announcement by Minister Flaherty last year of the $9.2 million in federal funding over two years for environmental assessments and remediation of harbour marina lands and the west wharf and the creation of a Canadian Port Authority (CPA) announced by the Minister Baird is a good start to rejuvenating Port Oshawa.
In a letter to Minister of Transport John Baird in March of 2009, the Chamber identified the environmental cleanup and future governance model of the harbour as two important priorities. It 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.
The Chamber believes Oshawa’s deep water harbour, 1 of only 18 in Canada, offers significant economic benefits to existing business and has the potential to attract new businesses to Durham Region and it supports industrial, recreational, commercial and residential uses. Over the past decade, the Chamber has shared that position with numerous transport ministers.
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 had been talks since 1999 about making it a CPA. In its 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.
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.
For example, the Hamilton Port Authority is a CPA. 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.
“After over a decade of uncertainty the residents of Oshawa, and Durham Region as a whole, can look towards a bright new future for Oshawa’s waterfront”, stated Bob Malcolmson, CEO of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, adding “the possibility of new investment and economic growth in the harbour area is at the brink of realization. The Chamber is confident; businesses will see the blossoming opportunities surrounding our deep water Harbour”.