Economic impact analysis shows potential for more than 21,000 jobs centred around four new GO train stations
An economic impact analysis for the proposed GO train lakeshore east extension through central Oshawa to Bowmanville, with four new stations, shows that a provincial choice to fund the extension would unlock both development and re-development opportunities of more than 60 sites.
The project has the potential to generate $1.1 billion in transit-oriented, walkable urban development that would enable:
- The creation of 21,000 permanent new jobs
- 6,000 person years in construction employment
- 6,000 homes to be built within walking distance of a GO station
- More than $70 million in annual savings for residents related to time, vehicle costs and improved road safety
- A significant reduction in the amount of CO2 emissions by decreasing private vehicle use by 50 million kilometers a year.
The analysis suggests that making the right choice about the GO train lakeshore east extension would drive these results as Bowmanville would gain access to 170,000 additional working age people within a one-hour transit ride. Oshawa would gain access to an additional 74,000. Similar positive effects of extended train service have already been seen elsewhere in Ontario including Guelph, Hamilton, Barrie, Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughan.
Conducted by Arup and Altus Group, the analysis was financed by Durham Learning and Business District (dLAB), a partnership between Durham College, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Trent University Durham, River Oaks Group and Halloway Developments Ltd.; the Municipality of Clarington; the City of Oshawa; the Municipality of Port Hope; the Town of Cobourg; Northumberland County; and Halminen Homes.
“It’s time for us to stop thinking of the GO train as a way for people to leave Durham Region to go to work,” said Durham Regional Chair Roger Anderson. “Instead, it represents the potential for a new workforce right here in our own backyard. Through the proposed extension, local business and industry will have the ability to cast a much wider net when it comes to attracting a talented employee base, which is vital to building a strong economy locally and for Ontario – now and in the future. Each order of government must work together to bring a sense of urgency to this community and provincial priority.”
“We have confirmation of what so many of us have long believed – that a GO train extension is the key to unlocking much needed economic growth and development in Durham Region,” said Oshawa Mayor John Henry. “This analysis clearly indicates that a prosperous future requires a diversified local economy, and improved transit and transportation is the first step to getting us there.”
The extension would see VIA service remain at the existing Oshawa GO/VIA station with four new GO stations: a new station north of Hwy 401 on Thornton Road South (Thornton’s Corners station); one just south of downtown Oshawa (Central Oshawa station); one in Courtice (Courtice station); and one in Bowmanville (Bowmanville station).
“Durham Region’s employment landscape is changing and more people than ever are commuting to a job outside of the Region,” said Durham College President Don Lovisa on behalf of dLAB. “We need to correct the imbalance between the number of jobs in Durham Region and the number of jobs held by its residents. At 67 jobs for every 100 workers, we have the lowest ratio of its kind in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA). If we’re going to make a successful shift, we need to encourage new businesses to set up shop and the GO train extension will allow us to do just that.”
According to the analysis, Durham Region is well positioned to support new employers in the area. This includes the more than 60 development sites available close to the proposed new stations, some of the most competitively priced land in the GTHA; a highly skilled workforce; strong post-secondary institutions that help businesses adapt to the changing needs of the economy; strong health care; and dynamic, diverse businesses driven by innovative business people.
Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster summed up the choice facing government: “Unlike other transit projects that the government can choose from, this one already has a provincially-approved Environmental Assessment. It’s in the land use, transportation and transit plans of our municipalities. The critical “first mile/last mile" part of the commuter's journey has been thought through. In addition, this project has wide and deep community support. Done right, we now know that it will create critically needed jobs and investment in Durham Region. We are ready to GO!”