Columbus Rd. East, between Ritson and Harmony Road has been closed from the beginning of August. It should be open for traffic by October 4., 2019. The existing culvert in the creek is being replaced with a new precast box culvert. The detour path is south, down to Winchester and along on Winchester and north again back to Columbus Rd. E. It is a $461K project funded by the Federal Gas Tax Infrastructure fund.
Metrolinx is increasing service on Lakeshore East line: "starting September 3 all stations along the Lakeshore East line will have a few more trip options during the weekday in case you need to leave work earlier:
A new 2:58 p.m. trip from Union Station will serve all stops to Oshawa GO, arriving at 3:56 p.m.
A new 3:28 p.m. trip from Union Station will serve all stops to Oshawa GO, arriving at 4:26 p.m.
An existing trip that runs express between Oshawa GO and Union Station at 1:52 p.m. will now stop at Whitby, Ajax and Pickering before running express to Union. It will depart at 1:53 p.m., arriving at 2:46 p.m.
A new 4:48 p.m. trip from Oshawa GO will serve all stops to Union Station, arriving at 5:50 p.m."
At the Oshawa Committee of Adjustments meeting last night, the application by General Motors to permit an autonomous vehicle and advanced technology test track as an additional permitted use on their property at 700-1200 Park Road S. and 855-1255 Stevenson Rd. S. was approved!
The GM representative stated the test track was not for high speed racing, and that testing would involve a couple vehicles at a time at low speeds.
One Oshawa resident. Gregory Milosh, who came forward with questions, (as anyone attending the meeting was invited to do) asked what are the expected construction start and completion times and the size of the track.
Timeline: subject to getting the various required provincial and municipal approvals they hope to start construction this fall and have the track up and running early next year.
The site is on a 55 acre parcel, fronting on 3 roads: Stevenson Rd S. and Park Rd S. and Phillip Murray Ave .
The track will be 1.6 km.
There is a 20 day appeal period for CofA decisions and if no one submits an appeal to LPAT (which requires submitting a $300 fee) then it proceeds quickly, although the GM rep did say there are conditions they will have to meet that have to do with noise attenuation reports and Conservation Authority requirements.
Below are some answers to additional questions about the track I received today:
Does General Motors have any other similar or identical test tracks and where are they located? GM has several test tracks worldwide including a test track in Milford Michigan and a track at our cold weather testing facility in Kapuskasing.
Will the public be able to come and watch the tests being performed?
No, these tests will be for vehicles or technologies under development and therefore not open to the public. I did pass along your suggestion of a community event sometime after the track opens to showcase the facility. However it should be noted that if this type of event proceeds, it would not include vehicles or technologies under development.
Will the university and/or college be significantly involved and in what capacity?
The test track is first and foremost to support GM’s research and development activities but depending on demand GM may consider permitting other users access to the test track including Universities/Colleges.
How many people will be employed specifically for the test track?
The test track will only employ a modest number of employees directly but indirectly the test track is supporting the research and innovation occurring at our technical centres in Oshawa and Markham. The current employment levels at these facilities is approximately 750 employees with a target to grow to 1000 employees.
How big a financial capital investment is this and will Durham region industry benefit?
GM has not disclosed the specific costs of the test track but the test track was part of the announcement GM made earlier this year which indicated that the total investment in Oshawa to support the transition of the Oshawa facility from automotive manufacturing to stamping, related sub-assembly and miscellaneous activities including the test track will total C$170 million.
There is a wonderful community garden along the north side of the Delpark Homes Centre (former Legends Centre). This week it was a pleasure to see nature's bounty there...but curious to notice nearby in the parking lot some new equipment for a telecommunication tower. On hearing machines digging at the base of the current tower and inquiring about this back at City Hall, it seems an earlier Oshawa Council approved a Second Tower to be installed beside the first.
FYI, the existing (formerly TELUS now BELL) Tower is 41 metres high, the ROGERS Tower now in process of being installed, which was approved by the previous Council in 2017, will be 50 metres high. (approx 30 feet higher)
New Oshawa residents, visitors and others who may not be aware how difficult it is to find parking at certain times, find they've wasted valuable time and become stressed circling the lot to find a parking space. When there is not one to be found as too often happens, they must rush out and drive Hwy 401 instead of using the GO train to get to an appointment on time. GO transit is heavily subsidized and Metrolinx should be encouraging its use, rather than turning customers away and turning them off coming back!
Change happens when people speak up! Time to be the squeaky wheel and get action with the Oshawa GO station parking problem. EMAIL the new Toronto East/Durham Region Senior Regional Manager – Manuel Pedrosa (Manuel.Pedrosa@metrolinx.com) Ask for tiered parking at the Oshawa station! It's a legitimate request. GO Transit is on record promoting building modular units at other sites "allowing them to be moved if no longer needed, or design multistorey structures that can be converted to another use".
A temporary modular parking complex can be re-purposed when the crazy dragged out Lakeshore East rail line extension decisions are finally made and then project funding secured, and ultimately construction completed (clearly its going to be many years before GO trains are running east of Thornton Rd.!) Oshawa and area GO commuters and VIA riders absolutely need better service at the Thornton Rd. station now!
Just this week Metrolinx announced it has "assigned new Community Relations Senior Regional Managers to keep you informed about all projects in your area."
"These Senior Regional Managers can provide information on all things Metrolinx in the community. This new structure means that people don’t have to arrange separate meetings to discuss multiple topics in the same community. The Senior Regional Manager will be able to provide an update whether it’s on a proposed new line, improvements at existing stations or construction issues."
In two years it will be the centennial of Robert McLaughlin's death (Nov, 1921) and the sesquicentennial of the birth of his son Robert Sam (Sept. 1871), aka Colonel Sam, aka R.S. McLaughlin. Good time to plan a Brilliant Oshawa tribute!
Thursday I met with Danny Gallagher, an Oshawa resident and well-known journalist who has authored a new book "Genius" (available at the Oshawa Indigo store, business section). It is a good read, well-researched by Danny, about the inspiring success story of Swiss Chalet and Harvey's restaurants founder, Rick Mauran. As Danny has not yet determined what the subject of his next book will be, I was encouraging him to write about the McLaughlin family in Oshawa, even suggesting the title 'Brilliant' :) -kinda nervy of me I admit...but hey, nothing ventured... and you never know!
Danny didn't seem to mind. My pitch to him was thinking it's time for a 'refresh' of the tale of the McLaughlin family's significant leadership and impact, not only economically and culturally on Oshawa, but on many other communities as well. Through the lens of history, likely there are many new Oshawa residents who would appreciate learning more about the extraordinary philanthropy of Oshawa's R. S. McLaughlin and his and his father Robert and brothers George and John's enduring legacy too.
In fact, Danny was obliging enough to attend the Canadian Automotive Museum with me and as you see in the picture here, took notes! CAM curator Alex Gates was happy to share interesting information and ever humorous Oshawa native Greg Milosh (who makes it a habit of not smiling for the camera) made it an entertaining visit.
In our conversation I told Danny I'd share a letter from the 1950s written by R.S. McLaughlin that Kathie Vanular and I came across during research at the Ontario Archives the summer of 2012. That was when a group of us were trying to save the George McLaughlin craftsman style stone house on Simcoe St. N. Although, unfortunately the developer Minto demolished the one-and-a-half-storey stone house Dec 20, 2013, our 'Save Our Heritage' Steering Committee was appreciative of learning more about the McLaughlins. This letter in particular, showed a slice of life, a family's waning recollection of the location, while aiming for an accurate record...of where to place the Robert McLaughlin Memorial Plaque in Tyrone! I'm copying Robert Sam McLaughlin's letter dated 1959 here thinking Danny (and others) might find it as delightful as Kathy and I did.
Memorial Park in downtown Oshawa, this morning saw the launch of the ‘On Point Pilot Project’, which involves the removal of dangerous needles and other drug paraphernalia from Oshawa parks. It is a project funded with support from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs. It provides those who have or are experiencing homelessness the opportunity to contribute to the community. The project participants involved in the clean up of needles and drug debris will be paid for their work. Giving them a chance to be proactive both helps widen and strengthen community mindfulness and community safety!
About whether to remove the 12 parking spaces on the north side of King St. E. between Simcoe St. & Ontario St. to widen the sidewalk for outdoor patios/cafes, pedestrians...REMINDER: "Feedback will be received until end of day Wed, July 24 and considered in the development of the final design for Phase 2 of the King Street East Streetscape project. Phase 2 will be presented to Development Services Committee and Council this year and is scheduled for construction in 2020 following approval in the 2020 City budget."
Here is the link to the City's survey, and the contacts at the City to send your comments/ask questions before next Wednesday are any of these three staff members:
Steven Sharp, Project Engineer, email@example.com;
Susan Lupton, Manager Downtown & Business Development firstname.lastname@example.org;
Mitchel Wiskel, Supervisor, Parks Development email@example.com
It seems not too many attended the Public Open House downtown at LaQuinta on this issue July 11th. So, if you are interested in this, either pro or con, the time to have your say is coming to a close. Email or call the City 905-436-3311 to contact any of the 3 staff members named above.
Interesting to note that the current Google maps photo of King St. E., taken October 2018, shows that all available parking spaces on this section of King St. E. were filled.
Two must-have emails for Oshawa citizens to enter into their contacts:
1) firstname.lastname@example.org This is where to report concerns related to pot holes, noise, long grass, snow removal, stray animals, missed garbage pick up, property standards and several other areas. Your emails will be logged and sent to the proper department for follow-up action. Here is a link for more info and note, you can also have an on-line chat!
2) email@example.com This is where you can to sign up to receive notices of Agendas, Council/Committee/Business and Community Meetings, City Festivals and Events, Media Advisories and E-newsletters related to Active Oshawa/Culture Counts and Inside/Our Oshawa publications ...a great way citizens can be informed about what is happening in Oshawa.
Of course, I am available to reach out to too, as the Oshawa Ward 1 City Councillor firstname.lastname@example.org In fact, I recommend Ward 1 residents request that Service Oshawa copy me when they forward your email to the appropriate City Department for follow-up. This will ensure I have notice right from the start and can determine how I can assist you too. (Note, this last bit is specifically for Ward 1 residents, as I can't speak for the other Councillors for Wards 2, 3, 4 and 5 who may or may not see this recommendation as fitting)
Post script -Ward 1 boundaries: from the City of Oshawa North boundary at Coates Rd. south to the 407, and east of Ritson, south to Taunton Rd....(or if this helps understand the L-shape of Ward 1 better: Ward 1 is all the vast area north of Taunton Rd. except that area between Taunton and the 407 west of Ritson Rd.)